A boat carrying six night fisherman capsized early this morning in Jamaica Bay, dumping the passengers into the icy waters near before they were rescued by two heroic skippers who rushed to their aid.
The 25-foot flat-deck fishing vessel was turning around to head back to shore around 1:15 a.m., when high winds and rough tides dumped large amounts of water into the boat, according to Capt. Salvatore "Cody" Catapano, who runs a commercial salvage operation, Sea Tow.
Catapano and the other heroic captain, Dave Paris, rushed to the scene of the accident, just west of the Marine Parkway Bridge connecting Brooklyn and the Rockaway Peninsula, to find three people clinging to the partially capsized boat and there flailing in the 50-degree water, according to a Coast Guard spokeswoman.
"I knew we didn't have much time, so I didn't want to wait for the Coast Guard," said Paris, who also helped rescue survivors of a fatal Oct. 2007 boat accident near the Verrazano Bridge. "We just threw ropes and life rings into the water. My crew knew what to do."
Paris plucked four of the six stranded passengers from the water while his own passengers -- 50 to 60 teenage partygoers -- got a rare firsthand look at a rescue operation.
Meanwhile, Catapano arrived about five minutes later and scooped out the two others, whom he identified as Lisa Shaver and Anthony Dattolo, who both captains said looked to be in worse shape.
"She wouldn't let go of her boyfriend," Catapano said. "I leaned in and grabbed her by her belt loop. She finally let go and I flipped her onto the boat. She was crying saying her mother was going to kill her. He was blue-lipped, hypothermia was already setting in."
Both skippers praised the work of the NYPD's chopper pilots, who shined spotlights on the capsized boat to pinpoint the location for the rescue men.
Two of the victims, described as men age 24 and 25, were taken to Coney Island Hospital as a precautionary measure.