Patchogue woman drowns aboard sinking boat

PORT JEFFERSON - Suffolk County detectives are investigating the drowning of a Patchogue woman who was aboard a sinking boat in Port Jefferson this morning.

Police say 71-year-old Georgia Johnson was fishing on a 21-foot runabout boat when the vessel started taking on water and became submerged off Old Field at around 9:45 a.m.

Officials say Johnson, who could not swim and was not wearing a life jacket, attempted to stay above water by floating on a seat cushion.

Investigators say Johnson and two other passengers were picked up by people on another boat and brought to shore.

Authorities determined that Johnson was in respiratory distress and she was transported to St. Charles Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The two other passengers, Johnson's daughter and a family friend, were treated and released from the hospital.

Suffolk crime scene investigators photographed the area where the boat went down and removed a number of items that were found floating in the Long Island Sound, including seats, coolers and a tackle box. Police plan to bring up the sunken boat in the next few days.

Johnson's daughter, Denise Pettaway, says her mother loved fishing and was the victim of a freak accident.

For Chopper 12 footage from the site of the boat sinking, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.

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