Boater who gave life to save friends hailed as a 'hero'

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The man who sacrificed his life to save his four friends when their boat tipped over is being hailed as a hero.

Steven Vasta, 25, and four of his childhood friends were traveling down the Hudson River when their 26-foot power boat overturned. Vasta was trapped under the overturned boat, but somehow managed to make two calls to 911 from his cell phone before he died. Authorities say the phone calls are likely the reason Vasta?s friends were rescued.

It took rescuers an hour to find the crash site, which was near the Bear Mountain Bridge. By the time they arrived, Vasta had died. Officials say Vasta likely died from inhaling spilled gasoline.

Steven Winkelmann, a manager at the Hudson Valley Marina, says the spot where Vasta and his friends crashed snags several boaters each year. ?If there was just some kind of yellow flashing light, some kind of marker you could see,? he says. ?It would be cheap to put it up and it might save lives.?

Daniella Vasta, the victim?s sister, says she isn?t surprised her brother put everyone else before himself. ?My brother was the most amazing person,? she says. ?He really saved all his friends? lives even at the risk of his own and that was really not a surprise at all. ?

Putnam County sheriff?s investigators are looking into conditions at the marina, trying to figure out what caused the accident.

Wake services for Steven Vasta are being held Wednesday night in Mahopac. A funeral service is set for Friday.

For additional footage of the crash, go to channel 612 on your iO digital calbe box and select iO Extra.

Man who saved 4 friends with 911 call from boat dies

Click here to see how rescue workers reacted to the accident

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