OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Beach Patrol (OCBP), with the help of a parasail boat, rescued a man in trouble in a dicey situation just north of the Inlet jetty on Tuesday afternoon.
Around 1 p.m., the OCBP lifeguard at the Inlet went into the ocean to rescue a man clearly in trouble near the north rock jetty at the Ocean City Inlet. When the guard reached the unidentified man, the victim was having difficulty breathing and was in danger of going under. Earlier accounts reported the man was fishing from the rock jetty when he fell into the water, but OCBP Lieutenant Ward Kovacs said on Wednesday the victim’s wife reported he had been swimming when he became distressed and was pushed into the area near the rocks by the swift moving current.
“He went in swimming next to the jetty and there was a very strong current from the north,” said Kovacs. “When the current is moving fast from the north like that, it hits those rocks and has nowhere to go, so it goes straight out to sea.”
The first OCPD guard reached the victim and kept him afloat, but had difficulty returning him to the beach. A short time later, a second guard arrived on the scene on a quad and entered the water to assist.
“The victim was fatigued to the point he has having a hard time staying above water and the current was so strong, the first guard to reach him couldn’t bring him back to the beach on the north side of the jetty,” said Kovacs.
With the two OCBP guards now struggling to keep the victim afloat and getting him safely back to the beach, a parasail boat came along on a return trip through the Inlet and assisted with the rescue. The guards were able to get the victim onto the parasail boat, which transported him to the Coast Guard station where paramedics were already waiting.
Paramedics then loaded the victim onto a Maryland State Police helicopter, which transported him to PRMC in Salisbury. The condition of the victim was not available late this week, but he was in stable condition late Tuesday afternoon.
Kovacs said it was a busy week for the OCBP, which is always spread a little thinner this time of year. Complicating the problem was the swift moving current and the potential for rip currents.
“We made several rescues this week, but there were few injuries,” he said. “There were a little more than usual for this time of year, but it dropped off considerably from last week when there was only one day, last Thursday when it rained, that we didn’t have double-digit rescues.”