Suffolk County Police 6th Squad detectives are investigating the near drowning of a man in a swimming pool in Mount Sinai on Saturday, July 24.
Police officers responded to the residence at 49 North Country Road after a 911 caller reported a man at the bottom of a backyard swimming pool. Sixth Precinct Officer Brian Christopher was first to arrive at the scene.
Officer Christopher jumped into the pool, removed the victim, and began CPR.
The victim, a 33-year-old male, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital where he is in critical condition.
Suffolk County police officers and Wading River Fire Department members rescued a woman who was in distress while swimming in the Long Island Sound in Shoreham on Sunday, July 18.
A woman called 911 to report that her friend, Johanna Scheiber, was swimming in the Long Island Sound and the caller, who was on Shoreham Beach, lost sight of Scheiber at approximately 6:50 a.m.
Marine Bureau Officer Gregory Stroh, 7th Precinct police officers and members of the Aviation Section responded. Seventh Precinct officers interviewed the caller and directed the police helicopter to the search area.
Aviation Section Sergeant John Vahey, Officer David Rosante and Stony Brook University Hospital Flight Paramedic Chris Barnes, who were in the police helicopter, located Scheiber in the water approximately one-mile offshore and Barnes and Rosante dropped floatation devices from the helicopter to the swimmer.
Members of the Wading River Fire Department responded on a boat and transported the victim to shore. Scheiber, 21, of Sayville, was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau officers and two good Samaritans rescued a man who nearly drowned in Port Jefferson on Sunday, June 21.
Alan Goldberg was attempting to anchor a boat on Whitehall Beach when he lost his footing and became unresponsive in the water at approximately 2:30 p.m. Two good Samaritans on the beach, Frances George and Karl George, performed CPR until Marine Bureau Officers Cory Kim and Shane Parker arrived on scene and transferred Goldberg onto Marine Delta.
The officers, with the assistance of Frances George and Karl George, continued CPR while transporting Goldberg, 70, of Coram, to the Port Jefferson Boat Ramp. He was transferred to a waiting ambulance and taken to St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson with serious injuries.
Frances George, 30, and Karl George, 65, both of East Setauket, were not injured.
Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives are investigating the drowning death of a woman in Fort Salonga.
Fourth Precinct officers responded to a Fort Salonga home June 24 at approximately 6:10 p.m. after a resident called 911 reporting a woman floating in his backyard pool. When officers arrived, they found Carol-Jean Werkstell unresponsive in the water.
Werkstell, 76, was transported to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown where she was pronounced dead.
For 10 minutes a day, five days a week, Kristine McCarren prevents tragedies.
As founder of the Long Island branch of Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) — a “self-rescuing” program that originated in Florida in 1966 — McCarren of Mount Sinai teaches children between 6 months and 6 years of age how to hold their breath underwater, wriggle onto their backs and float on the surface until help arrives in the event that they fall in water unsupervised. Since it began, she said, the technique has proven to be successful in saving more than 800 children from drowning — the leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 4 in the United States.
“People worry about their children in car seats and preventing accidents there, but I don’t think they even think about how big of a problem drowning is,” said McCarren, who since 2013 has provided lessons, at ISR Seal Team Survival Swimming Inc. in Port Jefferson Station and Courtyard by Marriott in Ronkonkoma. She currently has 15 students of varying ages, who each go through a six-week program.
McCarren said unlike typical swim lessons, it’s best to teach the technique every day in small increments so the children are able to retain it.
“This program is about making swimming second nature,” she said. “If a child can learn how to crawl or walk, it’s the same thing — it’s a motor skill just like that. The repetition gets it into their muscle memory, so as soon as they hit the water, they know to flip back and float.”
McCarren said parents are encouraged to stay on the sidelines and not interfere as their child is learning, as hard as that might be initially. The children are tested in both winter and summer clothes, as most would be fully clothed in a drowning situation.
“Kristine is absolutely amazing and it’s insane what she’s able to do with them,” said Sarah Walters, who two years ago traveled every day from Babylon to Port Jefferson Station with her three children. “I know that’s absurd, but at the same token I don’t have to worry anymore. It’s the best investment I’ve ever made. We were at a party once and my daughter, [who was 2 at the time], fell into the pool. There were adults all over the place, but I didn’t have to panic. She just got herself to the surface and to the side. That peace of mind is worth every penny and hour spent driving.”
“After five weeks of the intense training and a little bit of tears, she can now save herself.”
— Nicole Delfino
McCarren got involved in early 2013 after seeing a picture of her then-18-month-old niece swimming underwater in Florida, where the program had been extremely popular for decades. A physical therapist at the time, with a doctorate from Stony Brook University, the lifelong lover of water quickly decided to travel down to Florida to get certified as an ISR instructor. She went through an intensive, eight-week training program that, on top of in-water, hands-on training, included education in physiology, anatomy and child psychology.
Melissa Larsen, who brought her 14-month-old son to McCarren for lessons in 2016, became so inspired by her and the program that she became an ISR instructor herself, training in New Jersey. She currently teaches ISR in Hauppauge and Garden City.
“Seeing what [McCarren] did with my own son was incredible,” Larsen said. “She has patience and she’s thoughtful in what she’s doing. We have a pool in our backyard, and even if we didn’t, I think it was a necessary skill for him to have.”
The program has been especially essential and therapeutic for those in the area who have suffered water-related tragedies like Nicole Delfino, a Centereach mother whose 15-month-old daughter Kyleigh died after falling into a pool at a family party Aug. 15, 2016. Delfino said Kyleigh was in a crowded living room while she was helping her 5-year-old daughter Liliana in the bathroom. Kyleigh found her way outside and into the pool.
“Kyleigh was bright,” Delfino said. “She had her whole life ahead of her, and it was taken away in an instant.”
Only a few months after Kyleigh’s passing, Delfino enrolled Liliana in the program to make sure something like what happened to Kyleigh never happened again. Her 6-month-old daughter will begin ISR lessons in a few weeks.
“After five weeks of the intense training and a little bit of tears, she can now save herself,” she said Liliana. “It means everything to me, and she’s phenomenal in the program. If my daughter [Kyleigh] would’ve taken ISR lessons, she could have fallen into the pool, gained her composure and floated on her back until she was able to literally swim to the side of the pool.”
She said she encourages any parent to enroll their child in the program.
“I would highly suggest it to anyone, because at the end of the day, who is responsible to save them are themselves,” Delfino said. “All the layers of protection — you should have a gate around your pool and you should have an alarm — can fail, and if they do, you and only you can save yourself.”
McCarren and Delfino are in the process of starting a nonprofit in Kyleigh’s name to provide ISR scholarships to children whose siblings have drowned. For more information on the ISR program, visit ww.isrnewyork.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ISRSealSchoolLI.
Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives are investigating the drowning deaths of twins in Melville Wednesday morning, July 26.
Second Precinct officers responded to 10 Holly Court at approximately 8:40 a.m. after a woman called 911 to report she pulled her 3-year-old son, Nicholas Aurilia, from the home’s in-ground pool and he was not breathing. The mother began to perform CPR on Nicholas and reported his twin brother was missing. When police and rescue personnel arrived, they located the boy’s twin, Anthony, in the pool.
The boys were transported by Melville Volunteer Fire Department to Plainview Hospital where they were pronounced dead. An autopsy will be performed by the Nassau County Medical Examiner.
Personnel from the Town of Huntington were notified to determine compliance with town regulations regarding the pool.
A Mount Sinai anesthesiologist has died after falling off a boat in the Long Island Sound April 15.
Milford Fire Rescue received a 911 call from a woman saying her husband, Richard Melucci, 43, had fallen overboard as they were boating on the Sound near Milford, Connecticut at about 6 p.m. Melucci’s wife, Maryann, was below the deck when she heard the splash, police said.
Police say Melucci, a 1991 Ward Melville graduate, was not wearing a life jacket when he fell into the water, so his wife attempted to throw a life ring out several times without success, according to Captain Kieth Williams of the Connecticut State Police Department.
Milford’s dive team and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the scene and rescued Melucci from the water about 55 minutes later, authorities said. Melucci and his wife were taken to Milford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
An avid boater, Melucci worked at Long Island Anesthesia Physicians in Rocky Point and was affiliated with John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson. He was on his new 25-foot vessel, which was taken to Milford Landing, where authorities are conducting a full investigation.
Reposing took place at O.B. Davis Funeral Homes, 4839 Nesconset Highway in Port Jefferson Station. Visitation was help April 19, and will be held today, April 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Funeral Mass will be help April 21 at 10 a.m. at the Chapel at St. Charles in Port Jefferson. Interment to follow at Washington Memorial Park in Mount Sinai. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rick Melucci Family Fund at https://www.gofundme.com/rick-melucci-family-fund. As of press time, after two days, the GoFundMe raised $76,425 of the $100,000 goal.
Yakub Gangat donated $1,000 to the fund, and left the message: “An outstanding clinician and leader. Fun loving with infectious personality. He’ll be forever missed.”
Jennifer Bednar, who donated $100, also said he will not soon be forgotten.
“A devastating loss,” she wrote. “I will miss that infectious smile. My whole heart goes out to Maryanne and family.”
Teresa Schully Habacker left a similar sentiment with her $200 contribution: “What a loss for the medical community. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. I will miss his competent care and his great sense of humor.”
A 63-year-old woman was found dead in the back yard of her Lloyd Harbor home on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Lloyd Harbor Police officers found Elizabeth Cullen’s body after they received a request to check on her welfare at her residence on White Hill Road. Once she was found dead, Lloyd Harbor Police contacted Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives to conduct an investigation.
While police forces were at the house, Denis D. Cullen Jr., the victim’s son, came home and police arrested him and charged him with second-degree murder.
No attorney information on the 23-year-old was immediately available.
A Port Jefferson man died Sunday after drowning in the Long Island Sound.
Mouhamed Souleiman, 42, exited a boat that he was on with two friends to go for a swim south of Stratford Shoal Middle Ground Lighthouse just after noon Sunday. He was pulled away from the boat by the current, according to police. Souleiman was unresponsive when his friends located him in the water. He was taken to Port Jefferson Marina by Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau officers, and then transported to St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, where he was pronounced dead.
The lighthouse is located about halfway between Long Island and Connecticut, and is currently active, according to the United States Coast Guard.
Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives are investigating the incident, though it is not believed to be criminal in nature.