Tuesday, Sept. 22-Father Drowns Trying To Save Son

OCEAN CITY – A father reportedly drown last night in the ocean trying to rescue his teenage son caught in a rip current.

According to police reports, at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Ocean City Police, Fire Departments and Beach Patrol responded to 35th Street and the beach, in reference to swimmers in distress. Ocean City Fire Department personnel Amanda Shoemaker and Maria Berdan were first to arrive at the scene.

Witnesses on the beach related that two males were in the ocean and in distress. Berdan and Shoemaker observed a distressed swimmer about 50 yards from the shore. Both OCFD personnel entered the water. The first person rescued was a 16-year-old male, who advised that his father was still out in the ocean.

Berdan remained in the water and continued to search for the missing adult male. Off-Duty OC Beach Patrol personnel, namely Lt. Ward Kovacs and SRT Conner Braniff, arrived at the scene to assist with the water search for the missing adult male.

Rescue personnel remained in the ocean for over 40 minutes attempting to locate the missing male. The Maryland State Police helicopter and U.S. Coast Guard arrived in the area to assist with the search.

At approximately 7:10 p.m., Ocean City police report a surfer spotted the male two blocks north of the initial call. Rescue personnel entered the water and removed the male. Paramedics began CPR on the beach, both the adult male and the 16-year-old were transported to Atlantic General Hospital.

The teenager was treated and released, but his father was pronounced dead at the hospital. The deceased has been identified as Richard Robert Wagner, 52, of Boyds, Md.

The Ocean City Beach Patrol, Police and Fire Departments recommend citizens to use caution when swimming in the ocean even when life guards are present on the beach. Rip currents are powerful and can overcome unsuspecting swimmers.

The Ocean City Beach Patrol advises citizens to swim only when lifeguards are on duty, which is between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily until Sunday. 

For the full story, see The Dispatch on Friday morning.