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Kayaker pulled to safety in Sound off Cutchogue beach

A kayaker who fell into Long Island Sound off Cutchogue was safely pulled to shore by members of the Southold Fire Department Friday afternoon after a woman spotted the man in distress from her home and dialed 911.

“She saved my life,” the man said as he stepped onto the beach at the end of Duck Pond Road, surrounded by fire department personnel and Southold Town police.

The man was treated at the scene by members of the Cutchogue Fire Department and he did not appear to suffer any serious injuries.

Joanna Bryan was in the living room of her Glen Court home that overlooks the water when she spotted what appeared to be an empty kayak in the water at about 4:30 p.m. She quickly noticed a man clinging to the edge.

As she called 911, her son, Timothy Bryan, who was home visiting from Hawaii, contacted the Coast Guard in hopes that a nearby boat might hear a distress call broadcast by the Coast Guard.

“It looked like an empty kayak at first,” Mr. Bryan said. “Then it was like, ‘there’s a person there!’ ”

Ms. Bryan grabbed a pair of binoculars to get a better view. They could see the man waving a yellow life jacket in an attempt to alert someone on shore.

Mr. Bryan hustled down to the bluff to get a better view and waved a red towel to signal the kayaker that they had seen him.

“Then he got separated from his kayak,” said Ms. Bryan, who’s a retired nurse at Eastern Long Island Hospital. “We called again and we said the kayak is drifting and he’s separated from the kayak. You got to get somebody to it.”

Ms. Bryan said she was worried there may be another person who had gone missing by the way the man had been waving the life jacket. He did get the life jacket on after separating from the kayak.

Ms. Bryan ran down to the beach as the first responders arrived to make sure no one else had been missing.

The Southold Fire Department launched a dinghy from the beach and were able to pull the man, who was drifting a few hundred yards off shore, safely aboard.

“I’m very glad they came and got him because it was a scary half-hour or more,” Ms. Bryan said.

Photo caption: Members of the Southold Marine Unit bring the kayaker back to shore Friday afternoon. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

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