NEW YORK - Members of the Suffolk County Police Department rescued a hunter from frigid water after his kayak capsized.
The rapid rescue response from Suffolk police was caught on camera by the helicopter hovering above.
The hunter, 34-year-old Nick Shakalis, was duck hunting on Sunday morning when the kayak he was in capsized, immediately becoming submerged in 40-degree water.
"Before you know it, I was in the water," he said. "I was coming back in - nice, slow, and smooth. Out of the blue, just slipped in. I think it was a strong wind gust."
Thankfully family and friends who were with him on the shore quickly called 9-1-1.
"With water temperature like this, a person is unable to help themself after about within 20 minutes in the water," said Sgt. John Vahey, Command Pilot with the Suffolk County Police Department. "We were getting closer to the critical time period."
Within minutes, a rescue team was overhead as Nick clung to his kayak with his life jacket wrapped around him.
"He wasn’t that alert, he wasn’t that responsive," said flight paramedics Erin Cary with Stony Brook University Hospital. "It was really a matter of minutes for him to be ok."
"The one thing he did say when I was in the water which struck me - he said ‘help me,’" said police officer and rescue swimmer Jonathan Jensen. "I sandwiched myself between him and the kayak and we made our way to the Island."
Nick was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for hypothermia.
On Monday he spoke to FOX 5 NY by phone as he juggled his first day at a new job, saying that while the capsizing wasn't the craziest thing that has happened to him, it’s definitely one to add to the list.
"I’ve never felt more alive," he said.
Nick plans to reunite with the team that saved his life. While there is no way he can repay them, he says the least he could do is say thank you.