Lisa Margaritis, 49, was an experienced paddleboarder but drowned trying to help another woman caught in the strong current, Southold Police chief Martin Flatley said in a statement.
Margaritis and two other women were part of a paddleboard fitness class near Hashamomuck Pond in eastern Long Island when one "found herself in trouble in the strong current," police said.
Margaritis tried to help the struggling woman but "while trying to negotiate the strong current, the paddle board that Margaitis was on got stuck on a bridge piling and Margaritis fell into water," police said.
Margaitis, a registered nurse, found herself “tethered to the board and was unable to free herself,” police said.
A Good Samaritan jogging by jumped into the water and freed Margaritis from the bridge piling and brought her to shore, where rescue teams performed CPR. She was was transported to Eastern Long Island Hospital, where she died, police said.
Margaritis' mother, Jean Weber, told Newsday she was "devastated" over her daughter's death, but wasn't surprised she died trying to save someone else.
"She was a hero in my eyes," Weber said. "She wanted to save somebody else. She was always kind."