WESTHAMPTON BEACH - Officials say a Ronkonkoma man and his young son were rescued following a scare in the waters off Westhampton Beach.
According to police, 12-year-old Justyn Espineira, who has autism, was swimming off Cupsogue Beach on Dune Road around 6 p.m. when a strong rip current dragged him out to sea.
Rick Espineira tried to save his son, but the current overcame him too.
Experts say it’s virtually impossible to swim against the power of a rip current. They say swimmers trapped in such a stream should swim parallel to the shore until they escape it.
Espineira says he went out after his son on a bodyboard and tried to move parallel to shore, but kept getting dragged farther into the water.
The current dragged them nearly half a mile from the shore.
"We couldn't see them anymore from the beach," says Espineira's wife, Wendy. "To be totally honest, I thought if it's going to end, at least he's with his dad."
Luckily for the Espineiras, rescuers successfully brought them back to shore.
A Suffolk County Police helicopter spotted the father and son and kept them in sight until Marine Bureau officers Robert Femia and Neil Stringer arrived with a boat and plucked them from the water.