Friday, August 14, 2009

Danger at Jones Beach

Could New York's next helicopter disaster be at the beach?

Two Saturdays ago was a gorgeous day for beach-going--clear, sunny, not too hot or humid. Christine and I had arrived early at the west field of Jones Beach and were about to enter the water and play in the frothy waves, when we saw an ominous sight maybe a hundred yards from shore.

A helicopter swooped down with a rope ladder dangling below, and a guy at the end of the rope. Was he looking for a swimmer in trouble--or a body? Maybe he was being trained for something, we thought, when the copter dropped him in the water, and cruised away. Then we noticed that the guy was somehow back on the ladder.

The pleasure of the day had been darkened by what we'd just witnessed, whatever it was--that copter had been way too close to shore for comfort. We watched it fly out of sight before we ventured into the waves.

A couple of hours later, the copter was back, and this time we found out what it was doing: promoting the GI Joe movie.

Pretty outrageous--scaring the public, and perhaps endangering them, at what is actually public property: Jones Beach State Park.

I hope you'll join me in urging officials in charge to ban helicopters from flying low over our beaches for any but emergency purposes.

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