Fisherman Found Dead in Water at Montauk Point

East Hampton Town police, New York State Parks police, and Montauk E.M.T.s responded after the body of a fisherman was found floating in the water north of Montauk Point. Dalton Portella

The body of a fisherman was pulled from the water north of Montauk Point late Wednesday afternoon after a surfer spotted him floating facedown just after 5 p.m.

Dalton Portella, who made the initial 911 call, was taking pictures of the surf when he noticed what at first appeared to be a dead seal in the water, about five feet offshore. When he got closer, he said, he realized it was a person and called for help. As he waited to flag down first responders by the dirt road that leads to the beach, other surfers pulled the man from the water, he said. "Lee Meirowitz was attempting CPR, but it was pointless; he was long gone."

East Hampton Town police and Marine Patrol officers responded to the scene, as did Montauk emergency medical technicians. The matter was turned over to New York State Parks police, who are investigating, "although we don't suspect any criminality," a parks police spokesman said Thursday morning. Parks police identified the man as Aaron Bruno, 29, of Islip.  

Mr. Portella said fellow surfers believe they spotted Mr. Bruno walking by the base of the Lighthouse toward Turtle Cove on the south side of Montauk Point about two and a half hours earlier. He had a fishing pole and tackle box in hand, they told him.

Given the currents, Mr. Portella guessed that Mr. Bruno could have hit his head on a rock on the south side and been carried to the north side of the Point, where he was found on an incoming tide. "If there hadn't been anybody surfing there he wouldn't have been found for days."

The official cause of death is under investigation by the Suffolk County medical examiner, a parks police spokesman said Thursday morning.