Tragedy at Little Stony Point Beach
By Michael Turton
The body of 46-year-old Rafael Cubano of Beacon was found off Little Stony Point Park beach on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 1, at approximately 7 p.m. Cubano had been swimming there with three friends. A 911 call was placed at 4:30 after Cubano went missing, prompting an intensive search conducted by several agencies.
Victoria Perez, a friend of the victim, told The Paper that she, Cubano, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s brother had swum out to a rocky jetty off the beach just a few minutes after arriving at Little Stony Point. Cubano’s girlfriend and her brother then swam back to shore. Perez said that she and Cubano followed moments later but that he quickly ran into trouble in waters too deep for him to touch bottom.
“I think he was tired,” Perez said. “I tried grabbing him but he was pulling me under the water,” and she had to let go. Perez said someone from a nearby boat then rescued her, but there was no sign of Cubano. A press release issued by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department indicated that strong currents were a factor in the drowning.
No lifeguards are used at Little Stony Point Park and signs are posted indicating that swimming is prohibited.
Members of the Mahopac Falls Fire Department Dive Team found Cubano’s body about 150 feet offshore. Many other agencies and first responders were involved in the search including Cold Spring Fire Company, Putnam County Sheriff’s patrols and marine unit, State Police patrols and aviation unit, State Park Police patrols and marine unit, West Point Fire Department and its aviation unit, Yorktown Heights Fire Department and Cronomer Valley Fire Department. Marine units from the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and Westchester County Police were also dispatched to assist in the search.
The Putnam County Coroner’s Office has ordered an autopsy to be performed.