COPY-Portsmouth Fisherman Drowns at Sachuest Point

Gary Mathias, 48, of Portsmouth was fishing with a friend around four o'clock Wednesday morning when a wave at Sachuest Point swept him away.

Police say his friend didn't have a cell phone at the time, so he drove to the Cumberland Farms on Acquidneck Avenue in Middletown to call for help. Rescue crews responded and pulled Mathias out of the water. Hours later he died at Newport at hospital.

“He was a great guy…a fantastic guy,” Bob Murgo said, just moments after learning his longtime friend had passed away. “It's going to be a great loss to the community.”

The community Mathias was a part of includes the staff at Brick Alley Pub in Newport, where he was the head chef. Mathias is featured on the cover of Mercury Magazine's most recent issue.

All that's left at Sachuest point is his pick up truck and his friends, who are still trying to come to terms with what's happened.

“He will be missed. Sometimes a wave just creeps up on you and you lose your footing,” Murgo said.

The official cause of death is still under investigation.