NEW HAVEN, Conn. — On National Coast Guard Day, the Long Island Sector honored three teenagers and two men for their heroic actions this summer.
Officials say the group saved the lives of five elderly men, who were out on the water back in June.
Evan Kamoen, of Killingworth; Luke Voegeli, of Guilford; Ryan Kelly, of Pawcatuck; and brothers Jeffrey and Jason Nosal, of Middletown, were each given a good Samaritan public service award on Wednesday.
The boys said they were out fishing on the Long Island Sound, as they do often, when they found the men.
"It could be every day, every couple days, depending on work and stuff," Kamoen said.
The teens were in the middle of a place called Six Mile Reef when they heard something alarming on the radio. It was five older men, struggling to stay afloat.
"We drive over, we see the boats leaning a little bit, they all come to one side and the boat rolls right over, really fast," Kamoen added.
The boys moved quickly, pulling four men onto their boat. However, they couldn't get the fifth person, so they called for help.
Nearby boaters, Jeffrey and Jason Nosal showed up and pulled the last man to safety.
"Thank god they had life jackets on so they were able to stay afloat. But it was just scary to think that like, something like that could happen to anyone," Kelly said.
Turns out, such rescues have been happening a lot this summer.
Captain Eva Van Camp, Sector Commander of Sector Long Island Sound said they have seen more than a 30% increase in search and rescue cases. There's about a 25% increase in fatalities.
According to officials, that is why the Coast Guard relies on help from good Samaritans.
The teenagers happened to be in the right place, at the right time.
"It all happened so fast," Kelly said. "We're getting all these awards and stuff. And it feels good. I feel happy for these guys too because they're getting like a second chance."
"Now it's a good story to look back on, you know...always be prepared because you never know what's going to happen on the water," Kamoen added.
The boys said they still plan to head out on the water together at least every week until they go to college.
The group reminds the public that if going on the water, never forget your life jacket and always keep that radio on.
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