LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) — Police are still trying to figure out details after one man died and another was injured when their boat crashed into a beach house on Fire Island Thursday morning, police said.
At a news conference on Thursday afternoon, senior police officials said that the scene they came upon Thursday morning was unusual, even to them. They arrived to find a 30-foot-long Wellcraft power boat overturned, and on its side, having plowed through a wooden deck, and ending up pressed against the house.
“It’s a unique crash,” said Paul Mamay, the commander of the Suffolk County Police Department Marine Bureau. “These are not common,” he continued. “The visual is striking.”
Police said the boat struck the home on West Fire Island in the Great South Bay at around 7:35 a.m.
One man was pronounced dead at the scene and the other, the owner of the vessel, was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
The owner was identified as Christopher Cannella, 47, of West Babylon. Investigators said they’re not releasing the name of the deceased victim, pending notification of next of kin.
John Rowan, the chief of detectives at the Suffolk County Police Department, said that no criminality is suspected.
Rowan said that the possible cause of the crash is still under investigation, but the geology of the island, and the waters surrounding it, may offer a clue.
“Our emergency personnel had to exit their boats and wade ashore for approximately 100 yards to just to make it to the island,” Rowan said, “because the depth of the water was so shallow right there.”
In other words, the chief said, it’s possible that the boat hit the sandy shoals just beneath the surface of the shallow water surrounding the island.
Then, said Mamay, “The boat must have gone airborne at some point.”
Ironically, the name emblazoned on the boat is The Flying Dutchman. It’s unclear at this point which of the two men onboard was operating the boat when it crashed, police said.
They said that they’re interviewing Cannella now, at a local hospital, while he recovers from shoulder and rib injuries.
“We’re trying to get this information from the surviving victim, who’s obviously had a traumatic experience,” said Chief Rowan. “We’re trying to get down to the exact facts.”