USCG Member Loses Fingers Off Shore of Fire Island

By Shoshanna McCollumAn emergency helicopter landing took place on the Ocean Beach ball field to attend to a member of the U.S. Coast Guard who had three fingers amputated in a boating incident in the Great South Bay on Friday morning, June 30.According to eyewitness accounts, a speeding boat waked a docked USCG vessel. The Guardsman got his hand trapped between the boardwalk and said vessel, severing three fingers according to Suffolk County Marine Bureau reports.“The force of the wake actually shattered one of the windows in our vessel – which is highly unusual,” said Lt. Matt Richards in recounting events to Fire Island News later in evening, the day of the incident.Initial reports of the event hinted that the speeding boater had been apprehended, but Ocean Beach Police Department (OBPD) confirmed the following day that the individual is still at large.“We gave the U.S. Coastguard our surveillance footage which they are currently reviewing,” said OBPD Chief George Hesse.The OBPD keeps several surveillance cameras positioned at the ferry terminal, marina, and along no-wake zone under Inc. Village of Ocean Beach jurisdiction. At the time this article was updated Lt. Richards reported that doctors deemed one of the crewman’s amputated fingers unsalvageable, but were still aggressively trying to reattach the reaming two.“That’s way the area is marked as a no wake zone!” sighed Chief Hesse.This report was revised and updated July 1, 2017. Fire Island News urges all watercraft operators to act responsibly when navigating the waters this holiday weekend. Photographer Lauren Chenault contributed information to this report.