Suffolk police: Husband and wife killed in 2-boat collision on Great South Bay

The collision involved a 27-foot 1989 OC/MA boat operated by Louis Deritis, 53, of Oakdale, and a 44-foot 1989 Henriques Sport Fisherman.

News 12 Staff

Sep 4, 2023, 11:28 AM

Updated 227 days ago

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Suffolk County officials say a boating accident in the Great South Bay took the lives of an Oakdale couple late Sunday night.
A 27-foot 1989 OC/MA boat, carrying 53-year-old Louis Deritis and his wife 50-year-old Renee Deritis, collided with a 44-foot 1989 Henriques Sport Fisherman boat off the coast of Ocean Bay Park around 10:40 Sunday night. It specifically happened between the North Channel and Range Channel in Great South Bay.
"It is not a criminal incident. It's just a tragic accident and our condolences and sympathies go out to the family members and friends of the victims,” said Suffolk County Police Department Deputy Chief William Scrima.
Several people first called 911, including people on the Fire Island ferries who officials say saw the crash take place.
The collision caused the OC/MA boat to capsize, ejecting Louis Deritis into the water. His wife, Renee Deritis, 50, who was a passenger, was found in the vessel's cabin by fire department rescue divers. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau officers and members of the United States Coast Guard recovered the body of Louis Deritis at around 7:30 Monday morning after an overnight search.
Bay Shore Fire Department Chief Roy Ekelund, Jr. said conditions last night complicated search and rescue efforts.
"It wasn't foggy but it was windy and there was an incoming tide. So when the surface swimmer did get in the water, he got swept away pretty quick. He had to swim back to the vessel,” he said.
Ferdinand Caravousanos, 61, of West Babylon, the operator of the Henriques Sport Fisherman, and his passengers were not injured in the collision.
During a press conference Monday, Suffolk County Police said the initial findings from the crash point to an unexpected turn by the smaller boat, operated by Deritis, as a cause for the collision.
"Was headed eastbound initially and, for an unexplained reason, abruptly turned in the northerly direction in front of the larger boat,” said Scrima. “And the collision took place then."
Officials say incidents like this happen too often and it serves as a tragic reminder of why boating safety matters.
"This isn't like you're driving down a road or a highway with stop lights and stop signs and street signs,” said Ekelund. “You have to follow these channels and the buoys and if you do not, it could be hazardous."
An exact cause is still under investigation. Suffolk County Police say they have no reason to believe drugs or alcohol were a factor that led to the crash.
Both vessels involved in the incident have been impounded for safety checks.
Detectives are urging anyone with information about this crash to contact them at 631-854-8352.
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