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Rescue crews cancel search after balloons found

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Greenport Fire Department second lieutenant Jeff Weingart.
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Greenport Fire Department second lieutenant Jeff Weingart.

Local police and firefighters were called to the bluffs in Greenport Monday afternoon for reports of a glider crashing in the Long Island Sound.

But it turned out to be just a bundle of balloons, authorities said.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | About a dozen neighbors joined police and firefighters along the shoreline.
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | About a dozen neighbors joined police and firefighters along the shoreline.

Marine units and a Suffolk County Police Department helicopter responded to the initial 911 call, which came in about 4:45 p.m., and immediately began searching the Sound waters east of Sound Road.

The search was called off after the balloons, 10 in all, were located about a mile off shore of Truman’s Beach, firefighters said.

Greenport Fire Department second lieutenant Jeff Weingart found the balloons in a civilian boat, he said, adding that from the area of Sound Road the bundle could have very well been mistaken for a hang glider.

Jack Skrezec, a Sound Road resident who was out walking his dog, said he believed he saw a glider splash down.

“I  was waiting for the noisy engine,” he said of the object in the sky, on which he thought he spotted a man. “[It] just kept coming down, down, down. I thought,’He’s going to hit the water And he did.”

He said the object then began floating toward the east.

The balloons were half-inflated when firefighters scooped them from the water.

One read “Happy Birthday” and another was of a yellow smiley face.

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PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Police at the end of Sound Road in Greenport Monday.
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Police at the end of Sound Road in Greenport Monday.
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