UPDATE (8/9/22): Southampton Town Police have identified the drowned man found at Sag Harbor Cove on Monday morning as Keith Viagas, a 63-year-old Noyac resident. Viagas’ next of kin has been notified and a notification was sent out to press Tuesday morning, August 9.
According to his Facebook profile, Viagas was originally from Franklin Square, studied music theory/Composition at The Juilliard School, was a former Director of Artistic Planning at New York City Opera, and worked at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Southampton Town police are seeking the identity of a man found dead on the shore of Sag Harbor Cove Monday morning.
At approximately 11:43 a.m. on Monday, August 8, Southampton Town Police Communications Division received a call for deceased male on the shoreline of Sag Harbor Cove.
Patrol units, detectives, and bay constables responded to the area and found the dead man’s body on the coastline. Police described him as between 40 and 50 years of age, with a long beard, wearing a black shirt and black swim shoes.
The victim was taken to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Southampton Town Police are attempting to identify the victim, and anyone with information that could help is asked to contact the Southampton Town Detective Division at 631-702-2230.
Sag Harbor Cove is known for deceptive waters that appear safe to swimmers and boaters but have caused problems due to swift currents. In July of 2020, The East Hampton Star reported that three people had to be rescued from Sag Harbor Cove and as many as six had come close to drowning. Lucky for the victims, who rescuers believed had attempted to swim against the rip tides, they were seen and saved at great personal risk to an employee of Sag Harbor Cove Yacht Club and two boat captains who saved them and nearly drowned in the process.
On October 27, 2012, Patch reported, another victim had almost drowned in 12 feet of water between a rigid dock and a floating dock near Sag Harbor Cove West Marina after falling into the water. She was also lucky because Sag Harbor resident Bruce Beyer happened to hear her cries while he was at the village dock securing his boat for the coming Superstorm Sandy and came to her rescue.
This summer has already seen drowning deaths in other local waters, including 31-year-old Benjamin Z. Kitburi who was separated from his fiancée while swimming with her and a third person off Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk on July 19, and 22-year-old Westhampton resident John Escorcia-Arroyo who was found dead following a two-day search after he jumped into Shinnecock Inlet in an apparent attempt to swim across the Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays last month.