ASSATEAGUE — A Rockville, Md. man drowned in the surf at the Assateague Island National Seashore after taking a late-night swim in the ocean in a remote area of the Over-Sand Vehicle (OSV) zone near the 24-kilometer marker.
Around 11:30 p.m. last Saturday, two Rockville men were on the beach when Oniruddo Somroy, 28, decided to take a late night dip in the dark ocean. A short time later, Somroy’s friend on the beach heard the victim in distress.
According to Assateague Island National Seashore Assistant Chief of Interpretation and Education Liz Davis, the friend on the beach went into the water to help and spent about 45 minutes looking for his friend before calling 911. Two park rangers responded and drove to the area where Somroy was reported missing in the ocean. The rangers searched reportedly entered the water and found him unresponsive in the ocean near the water’s edge.
The park rangers pulled Somroy from the water and immediately began CPR while calling for assistance from allied emergency responders in the area. Around the same time, there was an Assateague Mobile Sportfishing Association (AMSA) summer camporee going on in a nearby area and two association members who were also volunteer EMTs heard the report on a scanner and responded and assisted in administering CPR to the victim before loading Somroy into the back of a pickup truck and transporting him to an area where ambulances and first-responders could take over.
By then, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) and a Berlin rescue paramedic had responded and met the truck carrying the victim at the air pump near the entrance to the OSV, according to Davis. Somroy was then transferred to a waiting ambulance while CPR continued and was transported via ambulance to Atlantic General Hospital where he was declared deceased a short time later.
Davis said the tragic incident illustrates the dangers of swimming in the ocean at night, particularly in a remote area of the OSV zone. Like their Ocean City Beach Patrol brethren, Assateague officials urge beachgoers to only go swimming in the ocean during times when the lifeguards are in the stands during daylight hours.
“It’s so sad because it’s so preventable,” she said. “Large sections of the beach in the national park are guarded seven days a week during the summer and the same goes for the neighboring Assateague Island State Park.”