OCEAN CITY — A New York man lost his life after being knocked down by a large wave while standing in knee-deep water last Sunday during a busy day for emergency services with rough conditions.
Shortly after 5 p.m. last Sunday, Ocean City Beach Patrol (OCBP) officers and emergency personnel responded to the beach at 21st Street for a reported swimmer in distress. The call came in around 4:53 p.m. According to Ocean City officials, family members told first-responders the victim could not swim.
According to the OCBP, a 76-year-old New York man was standing in knee-deep water near the water’s edge when he was knocked down by a large wave. OCBP surf rescue technicians immediately responded and were able to locate the victim in the surf five blocks south in the area of 16th Street.
First-responders administered CPR at the scene and the victim was transported to Atlantic General Hospital. The victim was pronounced deceased at the hospital.
“Despite the best efforts by our first responders, this was a terrible tragedy for this family and for all of us in the town of Ocean City community,” said Ocean City Communications Director Jessica Waters.
The tragic incident highlighted a busy week for the OCBP and emergency services with a perfect storm of sorts with heavy surf, high rip current risk and some beach erosion, coupled with sparser manned beach patrol stands with the annual late summer labor drain. Similar conditions prevailed throughout the week with a strong northeast system still in place for the most part and tropical activity south of Ocean City, reinforcing the town’s ongoing public safety message of “keep your feet in the sand until the beach patrol is in the stands.”
According to the beach patrol’s daily surf report, the rip current risk remained high through midweek with waves two to four feet. Manned lifeguard stands are now two- to four-blocks apart this week, although the OCBP is patrolling the beaches with ATVs and is prepared to respond to emergency situations. Swimmers are advised to walk to and swim in front of their nearest manned lifeguard stand.