On Saturday, the Montauk party boat Marlin VI Princess was fluke fishing about four miles south of Montauk Point when it came upon the body of Brendan O’Leary, captain of a Massachusetts-based tugboat.
“Been there before,” Capt. Ed Beneduci of the Marlin said of finding bodies offshore. “First I saw it and said, ‘I hope that’s not what I think it is.’ And then a woman up in the bow started to scream.”
Captain O’Leary, from Marblehead, Mass., disappeared from the 91-foot tug Steven-Scott on April 25 while it was towing a barge filled with jet fuel from Long Island to Boston. It is believed he went overboard, for unknown reasons, somewhere off Newport, R.I. There were six-foot seas that day driven by a 25-knot wind.
A 27-hour search found no sign of the 48-year-old seaman. A boat from the Montauk Coast Guard transported the body to the search and rescue station on Star Island. Yesterday, East Hampton Town police were awaiting the results of an autopsy.
“I’ve been 50 years on the water,” Captain Beneduci said. “In 1993 in the Gulf of Mexico I found 12 bodies after a storm.” Another time, also on the gulf, Captain Beneduci said, he found a body and waited for nine hours for the Coast Guard to reach him by helicopter to lower a basket.
“I didn’t care because I knew the man had a family. This one was a tragedy, but I’m glad he will go back home,” Captain Beneduci said.