KINGS PARK, N.Y. — The body of a missing New York City Police officer was recovered from Long Island Sound on Saturday, a day after his 5-year-old son was found shivering but unhurt in the chilly water.
Officer Patrick Luca disappeared into the waters of Smithtown Bay, near Kings Park, on Friday afternoon while on a kayak excursion with his boy.
His body was discovered by a passing boater at around noon Saturday about a mile west of the spot where he vanished, and about a half mile off the beach, said Coast Guard search and rescue controller Mark Averill.
A formal identification of the body has yet to be made, but the officer was still carrying his wallet and NYPD-issued firearm. He had been on the force for more than 20 years and worked in the recruitment department.
The hunt for the missing officer began Friday after a surprised boater discovered his young son bobbing alone in his life jacket near the mouth of the Nissequogue River.
The boy was shivering violently, but otherwise unharmed. He told authorities his father had gone into the water. The inflatable kayak was discovered 500 yards offshore, but there was no sign of Luca.
Police were still trying to determine exactly what happened, but New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the officer's kayak apparently capsized.
"The NYPD and the entire city suffered a tragic loss today," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. He added that the city owed "a tremendous debt of gratitude" to the boaters who rescued the officer's son.
Luca, 41, of Smithtown, was believed to have launched the kayak from a ramp in Kings Park at around 1:30 p.m. Friday. His son was spotted in the water at about 2:45 p.m.
Teddy Sandomenico, 58, of Kings Park told Newsday (http://bit.ly/n6vgaU) that he was headed to Connecticut in his boat when he spotted the child.
"I saw somebody in the water, which is unusual that far out," he said. "So I turned around and it turns out to be a 5-year-old kid."
He described the boy as upset and shivering.
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Copyright 2011 Associated Press