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Fisherman drowns in Jamaica Bay

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A fisherman is dead and another was recovering after they were swept away by the Jamaica Bay current Sunday afternoon, police said.

The two unidentified men were fishing in the water off the North Channel Bridge around 2:30 p.m. when they were taken away by the tide, according to police. Dozens of beach goers saw the fishermen cry out for help in Spanish and a Briarwood father and son went in to rescue them.

“I saw the people in the water. One had one hand up in the air), the other had two hands,” said Cesar Menesees, 39, who swam to the men with his 17-year-old son, Alex.

Cesar Menesees, who used to be a lifeguard in Ecuador 20 years ago, and Alex, who is on the Richmond Hill High School swimming team, managed to save one of the men and brought him to the shore.

When they went back into the water for the other man, they could not find him.

EMS, police and Coast Guard crews arrived at the scene and took the rescued fisherman to Jamaica Hospital, where he was in stable condition Sunday night. For nearly three hours, police divers combed the waters until they found the second fisherman and pronounced him dead at the scene.

His family, who waited anxiously at the shore while the search went on, refused to talk to reporters.

Regular beachgoers say they see fisherman in the deep part of the water all the time, but none have been swept away by the current.

“Sometimes I see them with water up to their chest,” said Juan Hinojosa, 48, of Far Rockaway.

Posted 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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