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Marine Unit Response Time Questioned in Accident that Killed New Rochelle Firefighter

Although members of Stamford's marine unit were praised for their heroic efforts in saving two individuals who were trapped underwater in a recent boating accident, questions have been raised as to why rescuers from Long Island arrived first.

When members of Stamford's marine unit responded to the that of New Rochelle firefighter on the night of July 22, members of a rescue team from out of Oyster Bay, N.Y., were reportedly already on scene.

And while the were in saving two passengers who were trapped underwater in the boat's bow, a report in the Stamford Advocate addresses the question of why the team from Long Island arrived first.

According to the report, the crew from Oyster Bay was already on the water when the incident took place. However, rescuers dispatched from out of Stamford Harbor, who arrived two minutes later, had to come from as far away as Easton and then prepare the boats before embarking on the Long Island Sound, raising the question of whether Stamford crews are spending enough time on the water, according to the report.

"We are out there as much as we can be in terms of staffing and workload and we spend quite a bit of time maintaining our equipment," Sgt. Peter Wolff, the head of the city's marine unit, told the Advocate. "When we are on land, we have an ear to that VHF radio and we can respond in a moment's notice."

Wolff added that he was "not disappointed" with his team's response to the incident.

"Considering we had four guys come from home, we got the police boats out there darned fast," he said, according to the Advocate report.

Tim Rath, who runs Shippan Scuba Diving Service, told the paper that accidents such as last week's will still happen no matter how many teams are on patrol.

"Absolutely they are patrolling enough," Rath told the Advocate.

For more, check out the story in the Stamford Advocate.

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