Long Island man dies after falling from boat in Sound

A Long Island man is dead after falling from a boat into Long Island Sound Saturday evening.

State Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police identified the man as Richard Melucci, 43, of Mount Sinai, New York.

At about 6:05 p.m., Milford Fire dispatch received a 911 call from a female boater in distress. The caller said her husband had fallen off of their 25-foot vessel into Long Island Sound and was struggling to remain afloat. The boat was reported to be approximately a half mile south of Charles Island at the time of the incident, and returning to its home port of Long Island. The caller managed to give GPS coordinates to the fire dispatcher to assist in locating the vessel, according to Fire Battalion Chief Anthony Fabrizi.

Milford firefighters immediately responded to the area with three marine units and activated their dive team. The U.S. Coast Guard also responded with a marine vessel and air support from Cape Cod. West Haven and Stratford marine units also provided mutual aid in the search and rescue mission. Milford police and DEEP officials were on the scene to assist. A unified command post was established at Silver Sands beach.

The man’s body was discovered approximately 55 minutes into the search effort by the U.S. Coast Guard marine vessel. He was taken on board and quickly transferred to Milford fire paramedics, who initiated advanced life saving efforts. The victim was brought to shore where an awaiting Milford Fire Department paramedic unit transported him to Milford Hospital. The victim succumbed to his injuries even after intensive life saving efforts were performed by fire and hospital personnel, Fabrizi said.

Melucci's wife was also transported to Milford Hospital for evaluation.

The vessel was towed to Milford Landing where Milford police are conducting a full investigation. No injuries were sustained by responding personnel.

A source on the scene said it was not clear why Melucci had fallen off the boat. The source also said conditions were not ideal for a 25-foot vessel on Long Island Sound Saturday evening.