Solo fisherman George Erichsen saw something bobbing in the water from his boat as he crossed Manhasset Bay from Great Neck, headed toward the Leeds Pond area of Plandome, early Friday afternoon, April 10. He saw what appeared to be a human body floating approximately 70 yards offshore. He telephoned for help from his boat. First the US Coast Guard arrived; then the Nassau County Police Marine Bureau, which had the men and equipment to retrieve the body from the water.
The victim was identified as Damian J. Maher of Mineola, the Delux Taxi driver who had been missing since the canoe he shared with Rodrigo Olivares capsized off Plum Point on the cold windy morning of February 14. Neither men were wearing life jackets and had held on to the canoe for as long as they could, but Maher eventually lost his grip. Mr. Olivares' life had been saved as the result of a heroic rescue mission by three Port residents that was reported in the February 19 Port Washington News, but community volunteer and professional attempts to find Mr. Damian had failed, even though police divers and boats continued the search for days.
George Erichsen had originally tried to locate Mr. Damian while he was still alive; he had taken his boat out of winter storage to join the rescue operation last February. "I had been watching the waters carefully," said Mr. Erichsen, a Manhasset Bay Sportsmen Club member.