OCEAN CITY — Tragedy struck yesterday afternoon when a Pennsylvania man, who was walking along the seawall at the Inlet with his 2-year-old child, slipped from the wall and hit the rocks below and was swept into the current before being rescued, only to perish a short time later at a local hospital.
Around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the Ocean City Police, Beach Patrol and Fire Departments responded to the Inlet area for a report of people in the water just east of the ticket booth area. Ocean City Emergency Services arrived and were advised an adult male and small child had been walking along the sea wall when they fell from the sea wall.
The adult, later identified as Stephen Richard Ostan, 49, of Marcus Hook, Pa., and the 2-year-old child struck the rocks below during the fall. According to witnesses, the child was clinging to the rocks below the retaining wall when an unidentified female citizen climbed down the sea wall and recovered the child. The female citizen was then able to pass the child to other bystanders on top of the wall.
Meanwhile, a privately-owned boat with two citizens aboard attempted to recover Ostan, who had an apparent head injury. By then, the private boat was assisted by the Ocean City Beach Patrol and the Ocean City Fire Department. In addition, a boat and crew from Surf Side Parasail arrived and joined the rescue attempt.
Ostan was recovered and placed on the Surf Side Parasail boat and was taken around the Inlet entrance to the Coast Guard Station nearby. The 2-year-old child was taken by Ocean City Emergency Services to Atlantic General Hospital where the child was treated for injuries sustained and released.
Ocean City paramedics met the rescuers at the Coast Guard Station and transported Ostan to AGH, where he was pronounced dead. The cause and manner of death is being investigated by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
The investigation, being handled by the OCPD, is ongoing. Due to the nature of the investigation, the names of the citizens involved and the witnesses are not being released at this time. The OCPD would like to acknowledge the courageous actions taken by the private citizens and public safety employees who assisted in the incident.