3 Rescued, Search Continues For Fourth Victim After Small Plane Crash Off LI

Feb 22, 2016

Suffolk County Police Officer Matthew Merced, center, recounts how he and fellow officers helped rescue three men from a downed aircraft during a news conference, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016, in Port Jefferson, N.Y. The single engine craft crashed into Port Jefferson Harbor on Saturday night.
Credit AP Photo/Mike Balsamo

Suffolk County Police have rescued three men and the search continues for a fourth man after a small plane crashed into Long Island Sound on Saturday night.

A student pilot was flying the plane when it began to experience engine trouble. His instructor took over and attempted an emergency landing into Setauket Harbor. Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said it was officers’ bold actions that saved 3 lives.

Sgt. Paul Mercready was one of several officers that took kayaks from Port Jefferson residents to reach the victims.

"As I was paddling out, I saw the survivor in the water. He was still yelling for help and I was telling him to hold on," he said. "And I’m holding the flashlight in my mouth as I’m paddling and I got the radio in between my legs as I’m trying to talk on the radio and paddle at the same time."

Mercready and his fellow officers were able to pull the man out of the water. Officers also pulled out a second victim while a third victim was thrown a floatation device and pulled to shore. The three have been treated and released.

The fourth victim, 23-year-old Gerson Salmon-Negron of Queens, remains missing.