Coaches Rescued From Game Perch

Dix Hills firefighter Matt Stio assists Tyler O’Neill, a Smithtown East football coach, after a bucket truck malfunctioned, leaving O’Neill and coach Tim Kopiske stranded 30 feet in the air Saturday afternoon after Half Hollow Hills High School East’s homecoming game. (Photo by Steve Silverman)

Dix Hills firefighter Matt Stio assists Tyler O’Neill, a Smithtown East football coach, after a bucket truck malfunctioned, leaving O’Neill and coach Tim Kopiske stranded 30 feet in the air Saturday afternoon after Half Hollow Hills High School East’s homecoming game. (Photo by Steve Silverman)

A pair of Smithtown East football coaches got stuck with their bird’s-eye view of Saturday’s homecoming showdown between the Bulls and Thunderbirds of High School East, fire officials said.

Coaches Tyler O’Neill and Tim Kopiske were stationed 30 feet in the air by a bucket truck coaching Smithtown East, but found themselves stranded around 4:15 p.m. when the truck malfunctioned.

Dix Hills Rescue Squad personnel were already onsite with an ambulance for the game, but the Dix Hills Fire Department also responded with four fire engines, three ambulances, a first responder and paramedic unit for the rescue.

Dix Hills’ 75-foot ladder truck was brought onto the field under the command of assistant chiefs Alan Berkowitz and Joe Williamson. Brother and sister firefighters Matt and Jacquelyn Stio climbed the ladder one by one and assisted the coaches to safety.

The entire rescue took 15 minutes to complete and there were no injuries reported.

-WROBLEWSKI