Pulled out to sea by current, swimmer is rescued after treading water for 5 hours

By Julie Walker and Karen Matthews for the Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A swimmer who got swept out to sea by a powerful current was rescued off New York’s Long Island after treading water for five hours, police said.

This image provided by Suffolk County Police shows Dan Ho, left, being treated by medics after having been rescued after treading water for five hours in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Long Island, Monday, July 31, 2023, in Babylon, N.Y. Suffolk County Police say that the 63-year-old went swimming at a beach in Babylon at around 5 a.m. Monday and was pulled out to open water by the current. (Courtesy of the Suffolk County Police via AP)

Dan Ho, 63, went swimming at a beach in Babylon at around 5 a.m. Monday and was pulled out by the current, Suffolk County police said in a news release.

After treading water with no flotation device for five hours, Ho found a broken fishing pole and tied his shirt to it to try to flag down a passing boat, police said.

Two men in a fishing boat spotted Ho about 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) south of where he had entered the water, police said.

The men, Jim Hohorst and Michael Ross, pulled Ho onto their boat and radioed police for help.

Hohorst said Tuesday that Ho appeared to be “almost done” when he was rescued.

“He wasn’t looking good, couldn’t move his legs,” said Hohorst, a former New York City firefighter. “Hypothermia had set in big time, probably some dehydration. He said he drank a lot of salt water.”

Officers from the Suffolk department’s marine bureau took Ho to their boat and gave first aid, police said. They took him ashore U.S. Coast Guard’s Fire Island station, where he received further treatment before going to a local hospital.

Police had no update on Ho’s condition Tuesday.