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Desperate hunt for man lost in surf: Missing off White Horse Beach, his chances slim

By TAMARA RACE
The Patriot Ledger


PLYMOUTH - A 23-year-old man reported missing off White Horse Beach was having a World Series party at his house on Taylor Avenue when he decided to go swimming in the storm-driven surf, officials said today.

Three teenagers who were at the party followed the young man, Tony Gigliotti, outside as a nor'easter swamped the region, Deputy Fire Chief Marty Enos said today.

Enos said Gigliotti had been drinking enough to impair his judgment.

The friends tried to convince him not to go into the water but watched as he walked in waist deep, wearing shorts, a T-shirt and sandals as waves reached 20 feet, Enos said.

''They saw him (in the water) for a while and then he disappeared,'' Enos said today.

Robert Hollis, 19, of 110 Fairview Lane, was one of the three partygoers who walked outside with Gigliotti and went into the water to try to get him, Hollis's father, Robert Hollis Jr., said today.

Enos reassured the younger Hollis that ''he did everything he could, and he was very brave,'' Hollis said.

The son told his father that he and the others went into the ocean to get Gigliotti but had to turn back. The younger Hollis returned home with his clothes soaked, his father said.

''We talked for a long time,'' Hollis said.

He said his son felt guilty about turning back, but the deputy fire chief ''told him he was very smart not to go farther out, that if he had, there might have been more deaths.''

Hollis said his son, a welder, hardly knew Gigliotti but went to the party with a friend to watch the World Series.

As dawn broke today, Coast Guard and other rescue workers walked up and down White Horse Beach searching for Gigliotti. A Coast Guard helicopter also resumed its search today over waters that were too choppy to handle a boat.

Gigliotti was initially reported missing before 9 last night.

When the search began shortly afterwards, the wind was blowing about 24 mph, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard and Plymouth firefighters suspended the search at midnight. Firefighters resumed before 6:30 a.m. and the Coast Guard returned at dawn.

Coast Guard Capt. Jim McDonald said the chances of a person surviving in such turbulent conditions were virtually nonexistent.

With a water temperature of 52 degrees, the best case survival is about 4.5 hours in calm water, and 2.5 hours in high seas, McDonald said.

Yesterday's storm uprooted trees and brought down branches, and unrelenting rain flooded streets. The storm left thousands without electrical service.

High tide was at 6:15 p.m.

Tonight's forecast calls for partly cloudy conditions with a low around 36. Tomorrow is expected to be partly cloudy with a high near 50.

Copyright 2005 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Wednesday, October 26, 2005
 

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Piper said:
Desperate hunt for man lost in surf: Missing off White Horse Beach, his chances slim

Enos said Gigliotti had been drinking enough to impair his judgment.

The friends tried to convince him not to go into the water but watched as he walked in waist deep, wearing shorts, a T-shirt and sandals as waves reached 20 feet, Enos said.
The news reported they called the search off this morning.
The wonders of alcohol. :alcoholi: Must have had more than a few to "impair his judgement" to think he could survive in the ocean during a late October nor'easter. In a t-shirt and shorts no less. #-o
 
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