A police sergeant is facing disciplinary charges after his thoughtless actions allegedly led to the sinking of a fully-equipped $500,000 Port Authority patrol in the waters between Breezy Point and Manhattan Beach earlier this month.
According to a New York Post report, the officer ordered the opening of a hatch beneath the water line, causing the vessel to flood and putting 11 lives at risk.
The vessel sank 40 feet to the ocean floor on September 9, forcing eight officers and three civilians to swim approximately 900 feet to shore. Nobody was seriously injuried.
The 37-foot M-2 Moose Boat, equipped with firefighting hoses, nozzles, marine radios, radar, GPS, scuba gear and inflatable rafts, went under during routing rescue exercises after “vibrations” were felt coming from the ship’s engines. A civilian safety consultant from Ocean Rescue Systems, a Maine-based firm hired by the Port Authority to oversee the exercises, suggested the officer open the hatch to take a look.
The hatch, though, was under the water line, and should only have been opened in dry dock.
The boat sank within a half-hour.
The officer faces disciplinary charges and, according to the Post, “will likely lose vacation days for failing to maintain supervisory control and basically abdicating his command to a civilian.”