Rescuers managed to pull a man out of Huntington Harbor Monday at about 6:30 p.m. when an apparent brake failure caused his SUV to crash into a fence, and his vehicle landed in the water, authorities said.
And though first responders from the area were on the scene, officials credit Ryan Sammis for his "courageous actions" in rescuing the 42-year-old driver from the water.
"The real hero of the day was Harbormaster and Halesite fireman Ryan Sammis,” Halesite Fire Department Chief Dan McConnell said.
“Upon arrival at the scene, he saw the victim clinging to a piling at the bulkhead,” McConnell added. “At great personal risk to himself he dove into the 50-degree water in his street clothes, swam to the patient and stabilized him.”
The driver was removed from the water and was transported to Huntington Hospital by Halesite's Rescue Squad.
Sammis worked with other first responders from the Halesite Fire Department and the Harbormaster's Office to carefully move the man from the water to a nearby harbormaster boat, McConnell said.
“Ryan then swam back to the dock and donned special dive gear to quickly check the submerged car for additional passengers,” he added. “ Finding none he swam back to the dock and was subsequently evaluated by medical professionals.”
Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department was called for its dive team, and Centerport Fire Department provided Advanced Life Support to the patient. Officers from Suffolk County Police Department’s Marine Bureau and Second Patrol were on the scene.
No injuries were reported, but one Halesite firefighter was transported to Huntington Hospital for evaluation after exposure to the cold waters of Huntington Harbor.
“While all involved deserve tremendous thanks for their professionalism at this challenging alarm, Ryan in particular should be commended for his courageous actions,” McConnell said. “We are glad that he and all first responders who responded last evening are safe.”