After almost five days of searching by the Rockaway Nassau Shomrim (RNSP), U.S. Coast Guard and others, as well as a social media campaign that inspired many in the community to join the search, the body of Yeshiva University graduate Gary Turkel z"l was found on Friday about 30 miles off the Long Island shore.
Turkel was last seen paddleboarding near Ocean Boulevard off Atlantic Beach on Sunday, June 12. When he failed to return home, his family called the fire department to report him missing. A tugboat discovered the body along with the board on Friday morning and immediately notified the U.S. Coast Guard.
The RNSP had been leading and coordinating the search in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard, Nassau Police Marine Bureau, local law enforcement, local fire departments and several private search and rescue organizations. After the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search late Tuesday afternoon, volunteers continued their efforts.
RNSP utilized all of the shared resources at its disposal to help in locating Turkel. Hundreds of volunteers assisted in the search, traveling from Boro Park, Flatbush, Lakewood, Passaic and other areas to search day and night until, ultimately, the body was recovered.
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, a long-time friend of Turkel, posted on Facebook, “Since I moved to DC I basically have lost contact with Gary. I used to love getting his hysterical weekly updates every Friday, but then those stopped. I saw him twice in the last decade—both for only a moment. But I have loved him just as much as the day he walked down the aisle at my wedding. Gary is the one who went with me when I went to meet Rhanni for the first time at Stern College. Gary is the one who played foosball with me all through high school and college. Gary is still the one who made me laugh more than anyone else I know. He was always a great friend to me and I know that I owe so much to the friendship and support he always gave me. I will always be eternally grateful for all the love he gave me. My heart breaks for his family. Baruch Dayan HaEmes.”
Turkel, 41, was global manager of the market specialist team at Bloomberg LP. He was a member of the Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach, an Orthodox congregation in Atlantic Beach, New York. He was an alum of MTA High School, Yeshivat Sha'alvim, YU and NYU. He is survived by his wife, Lesley Spodek Turkel; three children; parents, Esther and Eddie Turkel of Riverdale; two brothers and a sister, Lori Linzer, of Bergenfield. His family expressed sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support and the efforts of all of the individuals and groups who helped in the search.
The Jewish Link extends its heartfelt condolences to his entire family.