A Montauk lobsterman was rescued this afternoon by the Coast Guard after surviving at least 12 hours in the ocean south of Montauk.
At 3:30 p.m., John Aldridge, 45, a part owner of the 44-foot lobster boat Anna Mary was en route to land in a Coast Guard helicopter. He was described as dehydrated, but safe after he was pulled from the water by a crew aboard a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod about 43 miles south of Montauk Point.
He apparently fell from the Anna Mary, based in Montauk, early this morning while on watch. Coast Guard helicopters searched for him in the waters south of Montauk Point throughout the day.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason Walter of the Montauk Coast Guard station said at least a dozen fishing boats joined five Coast Guard vessels, two helicopters, and a fixed-wing aircraft in the search. Because it was not clear when Mr. Aldridge fell overboard, the area to be searched was extensive, Chief Walter said. He had last been seen on the Anna Mary during his watch relief at 9 p.m. The Coast Guard was "contacted by a local fisherman at approximately 6:30 a.m., reporting that a male fisherman had gone missing based on missed watch relief times and being unresponsive to callbacks from another fishing vessel at 4 a.m.," according to a statement released early this morning.
The Coast Guard said Mr. Aldridge was "not wearing a life jacket when he went missing."
"I guess I have to remember to be an optimist. You hear of this down south where the water is warmer, but it's different up here," Chief Walter said in confirming Mr. Aldridge's rescue late yesterday afternoon. Local water temperature in the ocean is about 75 degrees, according National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.