Medical Examiner Confirms ‘Accidental Drowning’ In Ocean City

OCEAN CITY — An unidentified Baltimore-area man lost his life in the ocean off 32nd Street on Saturday evening despite valiant efforts to resuscitate him in what is believed to be the first and only drowning in Ocean City this summer.

Around 5 p.m. on Saturday, the Ocean City Beach Patrol was alerted to a commotion in the water in the area of 32nd Street. According to OCBP Captain Butch Arbin, the unconscious victim, an unidentified 44-year-old male from the Baltimore area, was first discovered floating in the ocean close to 32nd Street and was brought to shore about a half a block north by bystanders and two lifeguards.

The lifeguards on the scene initiated CPR immediately, while OCBP supervisors responded on mobile rescue units that are AED-equipped and continued resuscitation attempts until Ocean City EMTs arrived and took over patient care.

According to Ocean City Communications Director Jessica Waters, the victim was transported to Atlantic General Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The victim was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy and his death was ruled an “accidental drowning.” That classification means there was likely another incident that occurred first that caused him to then drown.

Despite a summer marked by tragic and untimely deaths in the resort, Waters said the drowning in the ocean on Saturday was the first of the season in the resort. On Aug. 30, a 45-year-old male was swimming in the ocean off Assateague with his teenage son and drowned after struggling in the storm-tossed seas in advance of Tropical Storm Hermine.

Some seasons have more drownings than others. In 2014, for example, there were six drownings in the ocean off Ocean City including two on the same day on Sept. 17.

Saturday’s incident occurred at a time when the beaches in Ocean City were guarded by the OCBP although the resources are stretched thinner in mid-September. The OCBP will continue to monitor the Ocean City beaches through the Sunday of Sunfest weekend. In the meantime, swimmers are reminded to keep their feet in the sand until a lifeguard is in the stand and to always check when possible with a lifeguard on the prevailing conditions. However, Arbin said rip currents were not a factor in Saturday’s incident.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.