Follow up on original story
A Coast Guard search of 1000 miles of ocean, utilizing a 41-foot search and rescue boat, a 110-foot cutter, a helicopter, a Falcon jet, and manpower was "...no big deal at all." This from the captain who didn't even have a working radio on board! You would expect that this captain and these men could show some expression of gratitude or something - but they just somehow "expected" to be rescued. I have a few words for these guys: moronic, inconsiderate, selfish, and **** lucky!!
NEWSDAY, September 21, 2002
STRANDED FISHERMEN RESCUED
By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher
When fisherman William Stelfox found himself stranded on a stalled 25-foot fishing boat 20 miles southeast of Fire Island, he never doubted that help was on the way.
Engine problems had turned an ordinary fishing trip into an overnight sea drift, but Stelfox, 29, of Melbourne, Fla., said there was little to do but wait to be rescued. And, of course, to do a bit more fishing to pass the time.
"When the starter on the engine wouldn't start, we kept on fishing," he said. "I thought they'd just find us eventually."
A Coast Guard jet saw flares from Stelfox's boat at about 6:30 a.m. Friday and the fisherman, including Stelfox's uncles Thomas Stelfox, 51, of West Islip, and Jim 51, of Babylon, and his cousin Thomas 29, of Brightwaters, and their boat were later towed to shore.
The fishermen embarked on their adventure at 8 a.m. Thursday, headed for a mako shark fishing spot some 43 miles off Fire Island.
When they didn't return by 8 p.m. as expected, their wives called the Coast Guard at about 11:40 p.m. said Coast Guard Lt. Tim Haws, operations officer of Group Moriches.
With enough moonlight, plenty of turkey and ham sandwiches and a sense of humor, their main concern was that their wives would forbid them from any future fishing trips, William Stelfox said.
So far there have been no such directives and the men were joking about taking another trip on Sunday.
Yesterday, feeling a little seasick, the men were a little surprised at all the media attention their rescue received.
"It was actually no big deal at all," William Stelfox said.
The call from Thomas Stelfox's wife, Judith, Thursday night led to an extensive Coast Guard search of 1,000 miles of ocean, Haws said. The Coast Guard used a 41-foot search and rescue boat, a 110-foot cutter, a helicopter and a Falcon jet.
The boat's radio was old and didn't work because the men were too far from shore, Haws said.
"There's a very vast ocean out there and to find a small boat in thousands of miles of ocean requires a lot of luck and skill," Haws said.
Winds from the south blew the boat closer to Long Island, even though they were a significant distance from land. It took about four hours to tow the boat to shore, Haws said.
"They were all in good health," Haws said. "They were a little anxious but feeling fine."
Judith Stelfox said she wasn't too worried because her husband is an experienced fisherman. With each trip, he leaves her with details of where they're headed and when they plan to return, which helped the search.
"Everyone is making this a bigger issue than it was," she said.