2011-03-04 / Top Stories

Kayaker Overturns, Suffers Hypothermia

By Nicholas Briano


NYPD Police helicopters aided in the rescue of the kayaker. NYPD Police helicopters aided in the rescue of the kayaker. A kayaker riding on the frigid waters of Jamaica Bay overturned at approximately 12 noon on Tuesday calling in NYPD and Fire Department officials by air, land and sea to rescue the Rockaway man, identified as Felix Pai, 46, of Hilmeyer Avenue in Arverne.

Early reports indicated Pai was suffering from hypothermia but was expected to survive.

Pai told The Wave that he regularly kayaks on the bay and that he was not wearing his wet suit because it was such a nice day.

“It wasn’t that windy, and I was making a carved turn when a wave hit the bottom of the boat, overturning it,” Pai said. “The boat quickly filled with water and I couldn’t overturn it. I started towing it to Broad Channel, but the tide took me towards the airport.”

He was blowing a whistle and waving his hands when an Arverne friend, Frankie Rios, saw that he was in danger and called the park police.


After the rescue Pai was taken to the hospital by ambulance. After the rescue Pai was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Meanwhile, Pai says, the NYPD helicopter was quickly overhead.

“They waved to tell me that they were there for me and I waved back that I was ok,” he said. “They put two divers in the water from about 60 feet up, and I knew that I was ok.” He added.

Pai was pulled from the water at around Beach 68 Street and taken by ambulance to Peninsula Hospital Center, where he was treated and released.



Pai and his friend, Frankie Rios at The Wave office on Wednesday. Pai and his friend, Frankie Rios at The Wave office on Wednesday.

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