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Apr 13, 2009 10:06 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bay constables rescue two teenage girls after dock drifts into Flanders Bay

Apr 13, 2009 10:06 AM

Two 14-year-old girls from Flanders had to be rescued early Wednesday afternoon after strong winds pushed a broken piece of dock that they had been playing with along the shore more than a mile out into Flanders Bay, according to the Southampton Town Police Department.

The two girls, who were not identified by Town Police, were rescued near Simmons Point in Jamesport by two Southampton Town Bay Constables at around 12:10 p.m., about 20 minutes after the 4-foot by 6-foot piece of dock that the girls were playing with drifted out into the middle of the bay.

Christopher Kohnken, a senior bay constable, and Richard Franks, another bay constable, found the girls standing on the dock, which was in about 20 feet of water, according to Ted Sadleir, a senior Southampton Town Bay Constable. Though both girls were wet, neither required medical attention, police said.

Mr. Sadleir said that the girls were lucky to not have been washed overboard by waves and into the 45-degree water. The dock the girls were standing on was only about 10 inches high in flat, calm water.

“Once they were past the point of not being able to walk to shore, they did the right thing by staying on the dock,” Mr. Sadleir said. “They would have suffered hypothermia and drowned. The water was 45 degrees.”

Prior to the drifting into Flanders Bay, the two girls and a third girl, also from Flanders, had been playing with the dock near the mouth of Goose Creek, located just east of Long Neck Boulevard in Flanders, according to Mr. Sadleir. The three girls were pushing the dock along the shoreline and bulkheading when a southwesterly gust of wind suddenly pushed the dock away from the shore.

The third girl jumped off of the dock before it reached deep water and, after realizing that she could not help her friends, ran back to her Pine Street home and told her mother what had just happened. The girl’s mother called Town Police and, in turn, they contacted the Bay Constables.

Mr. Kohnken and Mr. Franks were the first to reach the girls and pulled them onto their boat, Mr. Sadleir said. The girls were then taken, via boat, back to Flanders.

Additionally, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Suffolk County Police Department’s Aviation Unit, and the Riverhead Town Police Department were notified about the incident and responded to the call.

Mr. Sadleir said he did not know where the floating dock came from, adding that it might have washed up along the shore near where the girls were playing. He explained that the dock has a wood exterior and a Styrofoam interior, the latter of which makes it buoyant.

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Great job Guys !
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Apr 9, 09 3:21 PM
great lesson for the kids (and adults) -
go for help when you are in over your head
By quioguebirdfreak (25), quiogue on Apr 9, 09 3:42 PM
At least there is a smart 14 year old out there - good job! You did the right thing!
By LovedHerTown (132), southampton on Apr 9, 09 4:14 PM
Great to have a story with a happy ending ase approach the Easter holiday!
By ReelT (8), Hampton Bays on Apr 9, 09 4:34 PM
Also, kudos to the 3 emts from Flanders Ambulance that spotted the girls in the bay and relayed their position to the BC3 unit that was underway. Again, its great when kids come home safe.
By nazz (22), Flanders on Apr 9, 09 5:40 PM
Good job!! Parents must be very proud of all involved...I am!
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Apr 9, 09 6:50 PM
Why didn't they just jump off the dock when they were 10 ft from the beach and walk back to shore?
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Apr 11, 09 12:25 PM
I am one of those 14 year olds and I just wanted to give a great big THANK YOU to the bay constable for saving my life!

The article states that we were playing with the dock, which caused us to drift out to sea, but specficly, my friend and I were stupidly getting a softball that we were having a catch with that fell into the water. We used a neighbor's wooden dock since we had no boat. We should have just left the softball in the sea, but instead we went to get it, leaving the current ...more
By dineen :] (1), EQ on Apr 11, 09 10:02 PM
It's nice to hear a scary story that has a happy ending.
By anonomous (3), Southampton on Apr 13, 09 8:35 AM
These girls are very fortunate to be alive today. The real story should be why did it take bay constables 20 minutes to get to the girls? Why didn't the town PD dispatcher alert the fire department for a water rescue after she was told their was a FD boat in the water 1000ft away and knowing that the bay constables were coming from shinnecock?

It's unfortunate that the town PD dispatchers continue to play politics with people's lives to maintain job security for the bay constables. Mr Sadleir ...more
By politcal pawn (121), Flanders on Apr 15, 09 3:52 PM