OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man was seriously injured this week after his personal watercraft (PWC) ran aground and launched him into the shallow water of the Isle of Wight Bay near 15th Street.
Around noon on Tuesday, Michael J. Fischer, 41, of Ocean City, ran his PWC aground, presumably on a sandbar, and was launched from the vessel. A Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) patrol boat was in close proximity to the accident and officers were able to respond to the scene just minutes after it was reported.
Temperatures on Tuesday topped the 70-degree mark inland and reached the upper 60s closer to the water, causing a rare busy day on the water in January. Fortunately for Fischer, the NRP anticipated more activity on the bays behind Ocean City on the beautiful day and were in the area on routine patrol when they received a call about the incident.
“Our guys were already out there working the water and were able to reach Mr. Fischer in about four or five minutes,” said NRP spokesman Sgt. Ken Turner. “The response time was incredible. It was just as fast or faster as it would have been on almost any day in the summer.”
When the NRP officers arrived on the scene, they found Fischer in the water not far from his vessel. Ocean City Police and Emergency Services also responded, and together, the allied agencies were able to stabilize Fischer right on the sandbar before transporting him to land. Fischer was transported by helicopter first to PRMC in Salisbury. Later Tuesday evening, he was transferred to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma facility in Baltimore where his condition is unknown.
Turner said the investigation is ongoing, although it appears Fischer’s PWC struck a sandbar and launched him from the vessel.
“It looks like that’s what happened,” he said. “There are sandbars and shallow spots all over that area and it looks like he hit one at a fairly high rate of speed, although the investigation has not been completed.”