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Chris Cuomo, CNN anchor, comes to aid of distressed swimmer off Shelter Island

Chris Cuomo

Chris Cuomo Photo Credit: ABC

Chris Cuomo was boating with his family Sunday in Peconic Bay when he saw a distressed swimmer and thought to himself "he's not going to make it."

So the CNN anchor and brother of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo jumped into the water and helped the unnamed swimmer to safety, authorities said.

Cuomo, 45, isn't talking about his actions in a boating hot spot just west of the north ferry channel, a spokeswoman for CNN said Tuesday.

But Shelter Island Chief of Police James Read confirmed reports that the co-host of the "New Day" morning show did indeed come to the swimmer's aid off the beach near the Sunset Hotel.

Cuomo did address the issue with his co-hosts, who brought up his leap into the bay on Tuesday's show.

He said the man was in for a swim in fast-moving current.

"He didn't judge the current right, and as he came by us I said, 'How you doing?' He didn't look right."

Cuomo said the man responded that he wasn't doing well, and so Cuomo threw him a life preserver.

"It wasn't enough. So I didn't think. I just went in and got him."

He said it was hard for the two of them to swim to shore and that he probably should have made a radio call for help before jumping in.

But . . . "I didn't think the guy was going to make it."

Fortunately, Read said other boaters were seeking help, too.

"Our bay constable was going by and boats were flagging him down," Read said. "When he got to the two men, they were in about chest deep or neck deep in water, and he was able pull both of them to his boat."

Read said the constable, Peter Vielbig, got both men back to their respective boats.

Vielbig "told me that people were cheering Cuomo," Read said.

The unnamed distressed swimmer was OK.

"He didn't go to the hospital or anything," Read said. "I don't even have his name."

The chief said it is unclear how the man got into the water.

Read agreed the area where Cuomo was boating is considered a recreational hot spot.

"On Saturdays and Sundays, there are a ton of boats there," Read said.


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