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Police Rescue Autistic Teen From Coney Island Water After He Fled School

By Trevor Kapp | April 25, 2016 9:45am
 Police rescued an autistic teen from the Coney Island beach Saturday afternoon.
Police rescued an autistic teen from the Coney Island beach Saturday afternoon.
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BROOKLYN — An autistic teen ran from a Gravesend school to Coney Island beach Saturday afternoon and was saved by police in a dramatic rescue as he waded waist-deep in the water, the NYPD said.

The 14-year-old boy, who is non-verbal, fled PS 721, on Avenue X and West 12th Street, about 1:50 p.m., police said.

Officers from the 60th precinct started canvassing surrounding blocks before receiving a call of a nude male running on the beach at West 12th Street, the NYPD said.

When they reached the boardwalk, they saw the teen running in and out of the water. The officers tried to coax him back onto the beach, but he ignored them, police said.

Sgt. Christopher Vincenti and two other officers shed their gunbelts, uniform shirts and shoes before jumping into the cold water and pulling the boy to safety, the NYPD said. The sea temperature on Saturday was about 51 degrees, according to satellite readings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

One of the officers gave the boy his T-shirt, while Vincenti got a towel from a beachgoer to cover the teen.

The boy was taken to Coney Island Hospital for evaluation, police said.

In 2013, Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old autistic student, disappeared after walking out of an unlocked door at the Riverview School in Long Island City. His body was discovered on a College Point beach months later.

His death resulted in "Avonte's Law," which was introduced to put security alarms on the doors of nearly all of the city's school buildings.