NYPD Officer Found Dead After Capsizing in Kayak on LI
MANHATTAN - A veteran NYPD officer who fell overboard while kayaking with his son on Long Island was found dead Saturday, authorities said.
Rescuers had been frantically searching for Patrick Luca, 41, of Smithtown, after the boat carrying the off-duty, 20-year veteran and his son capsized Friday, officials said.
"On behalf of the New York City Police Department, I extend deepest condolences to the family and friends of Officer Luca," said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Luca, who was assigned to the recruitment division, had launched an inflatable kayak in Smithtown Bay, near the Nissequogue River, with his 5-year-old son, around 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to the Suffolk County PD.
A little more than an hour later, Good Samaritans on another boat discovered the boy, who was wearing a life jacket, floating in the water near the mouth of the river and pulled him to safety.
They then began searching for Luca but could not find him.
The Coast Guard, along with the Suffolk PD and NYPD then began an extensive search for the officer, which continued into Saturday.
Later in the day, a boater discovered the officer's body in the Nissequogue River, Kelly said.
The boy, who was unharmed, was handed over to his mother.
"Thankfully the boy was wearing his life jacket and a Good Samaritan was in the area to recover him," said John Olsen, the Sector Long Island Sound command duty officer who was on watch at the time of the incident.
The boy told rescuers that his father, who was not wearing a life vest, went under the water and did not resurface, according to the Coast Guard.
An official said the boy was "pretty shaken up."
No foul play was suspected.