The death of Jeffrey Gantt by apparent drowning in Montauk’s Fort Pond on Sunday is a tragedy for his friends, families, and business acquaintances, and our hearts go out to them. We do not yet know exactly what happened to Mr. Gantt, and we may never know. His death is a terrible reminder to us all of how quickly things can go wrong on the water, even in the most seemingly benign places.
Another aspect of this deserves mention — the response from police, fire departments, and the town ocean rescue squad. Searchers worked until well after dark looking for Mr. Gantt, by then presumed dead. Dive teams groped through near-zero visibility and amid thick silt. Ocean rescue members crisscrossed the surface on personal watercraft. Marine Patrol canvassed by boat. Imaging sonar technology helped locate Mr. Gantt’s body in about 30 feet of water the next day, and divers were again sent down on a final assignment.
As terrible as this incident is, it was a real-life effort for the volunteers and professionals alike, something they trained for but never wanted to have end this way. Theirs is an invaluable service, especially in a community surrounded as we are by so much water.
May Mr. Gantt rest in peace.