A 59-year-old Selden man was found dead in the Long Island Sound off the North Fork nearly 20 miles east of where he alerted authorities that his sailboat was sinking, officials said.

The U.S. Coat Guard reported that a boat crew found Ciro Stellges near Duck Pond Point shortly after 8 a.m. Monday, a day after the victim called Riverhead Town Police to report that his sailboat was taking on water three miles north of Jacobs Point off Wading River, authorities said.

“On behalf of the men and women of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends affected by this tragedy,” Capt. Ed Cubanski, commander of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with them in their time of grief.”

The Coast Guard, Suffolk County police, Riverhead town police, Southold town police and the Wading River Fire Department had searched more than 400 square miles for more than 19 hours before the discovery was made.

Stellges was sailing his boat, “MAC,” from Mattituck to Port Washington at the time.

The incident occurred on the same day that Suffolk police rescued two Bronx men Sunday after their 24-foot Tanze sailboat ran aground in the Great South Bay for nearly 30 hours near Elder Island in Copiague, police said.

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The Copiague Fire Department treated both men for exposure. They had just purchased their boat in Bay Shore and were sailing to City Island when they were marooned.


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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.