FAIRFIELD, Conn. — They are lucky to be alive: The Fairfield Fire Department rescued a fisherman who became stranded out at Penfield Lighthouse early Thursday morning while a second fisherman was able to swim to safety from Penfield Reef.
The department received a call at around 6:45 a.m. reporting a person in distress at Penfield Lighthouse.
Two Fairfield Fire Marine units immediately responded and began a search. Marine 228 arrived first and made contact with the person at Penfield Lighthouse, who said he had been fishing on Penfield Reef, fire officials said.
The fisherman said he and another person had walked onto the Reef from the shore at around 7 p.m. the previous night, but they became disoriented when fog rolled in at around 11 p.m.
The two became separated while attempting to flee the Reef, and he resorted to swimming to Penfield Lighthouse when the Reef was overtaken by the tide, fire officials said.
The rescued fisherman said he did not know the location of the second person. He was taken to shore by fire personnel and evaluated by medics, but was uninjured.
Fairfield Fire Marine units began a search of the last known location of the missing fisherman, under the direction of the U.S. Coast Guard. They discovered that the missing person had also been forced off the Reef but had managed to swim to shore, fire official said.
They were able to contact him, and learned that he was not injured. He had taken a cab to his home in Brewster, N.Y.
"The individuals involved in this case were extremely fortunate to escape harm," said Assistant Fire Chief Roger Caisse, the incident commander. "Fishing off Penfield Reef, especially in darkness and fog, can be exceptionally hazardous as environmental conditions often change rapidly. Personal protective equipment such as flotation, signaling devices, and notifying others of your fishing plan can make the difference in survival when conditions turn bad."
Two people were killed in August when they were fishing at Penfield Reef in Fairfield. They had been with two other men when they were swept into Long Island Sound.
No firefighter injuries were reported from the scene on Thursday.
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