Alameda drowning - Memorial day

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Alameda drowning - Memorial day

Postby reyrivera » Tue May 31, 2011 1:40 pm

Just one kiteboarder and a swimmer attempted rescue for this troubled person on a crowded day? Anybody else seen this happen? I would think helicopters will have a tough time flying to the rescue with kites flying around. Props to the kiteboarder and swimmer who tried to rescue this poor fella:

The link:
http://www.insidebayarea.com/alameda/ci_18172320

Contents:
insidebayarea.com wrote:Man drowns after walking fully clothed into bay off Alameda beach
By Angela Hill
Oakland Tribune
Posted: 05/29/2011 11:00:00 PM PDT
Updated: 05/31/2011 12:15:46 PM PDT

ALAMEDA -- A 57-year-old man drowned Monday afternoon after walking fully clothed into the surf at an Alameda beach and wading in the chilly bay water for nearly an hour, authorities said.

Witnesses said the Alameda man, whose name was not released pending notification of relatives, paced back and forth for several minutes, then walked out into the waves around 11:30 a.m. at a stretch of beach along Shoreline Drive near the Willow Street intersection, raising his arms in the air in chest-deep water for nearly an hour and eventually floating out to about 150 yards from the coast.

Alameda police and fire were called, and subsequently notified the U.S. Coast Guard.

Witnesses said Alameda police and fire crews responded to the scene quickly, but watched from the shore as the man bobbed in the water.

According to a statement released by the police Monday evening, "(the) Alameda Fire Department does not currently have, and is not certified, in land-based water rescues. The city of Alameda primarily relies on the United States Coast Guard for these types of events."

Coast Guard Petty Officer Erik Swanson said, "We launched a small boat from San Francisco and our helicopter, but the boat was unable to get to the man at that location because it was too shallow for the boat to get through. Our helicopter arrived and spotted the man in the water."

Although the boat arrived in just 20 minutes, it took 65 minutes for the chopper to make it on scene because it was out on another mission and had to refuel, police said.

From the helicopter, Coast Guard personnel also saw a woman -- described as an avid swimmer in her late 20s -- swim out when the man was about 50 yards away and pull him to shore. Emergency crews waiting on the beach said the man was unresponsive when he was brought in and was then taken to Alameda Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The man had been in the water for about an hour, Swanson said.

At least two bystanders, including a kite surfer, tried to get to the man. The woman who swam out and pulled the man to shore told witnesses she was a nurse trained in water rescue.

"He was out there very far," said Alameda police Lt. Jill Ottaviano. "Conditions were very cold and choppy. It was a situation where you could see him bobbing up out of the water, then going under. Ultimately, he may have suffered from hypothermia. It was a very unfortunate situation."
Last edited by reyrivera on Tue May 31, 2011 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alameda drowning - Sunday before Memorial day

Postby ramsey » Tue May 31, 2011 2:39 pm

New policy in works after man dies in SF Bay
AP

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By SUDHIN THANAWALA, Associated Press Sudhin Thanawala, Associated Press – 12 mins ago

SAN FRANCISCO – Fire officials will change water rescue policy after crews did not try to save a suicidal man who waded into San Francisco Bay and died after about an hour in the frigid water, authorities said Tuesday.

Alameda Interim Fire Chief Mike D'Orazi called Monday's incident troubling and said he directed staff to write a new policy that would allow commanders at the scene to attempt a water rescue.

The previous policy strictly forbade such attempts. It was implemented after budget cuts forced the department to discontinue water rescue training and stop maintaining wetsuits and other rescue gear, D'Orazi said.

"The incident yesterday was deeply regrettable," he said. "But I can also see it from our firefighters' perspective. They're standing there wanting to do something, but they are handcuffed by policy at that point."

Fire crews and police watched as the man, identified by authorities only as an Alameda resident in his early 50s, stood up to his neck in the water at Crown Memorial State Beach, witnesses told KGO-TV. His lifeless body was pulled out about an hour later by a swimmer who went in after him.

"We expected to see at some point that there would be a concern for him," Gary Barlow told the news station.

Perry Smith, another witness, said the man was visible from the shore and was looking at people.

A police official said the decision to not go in after the man was hard, but officers did not have the gear for the cold water and couldn't risk being pulled under themselves.

"Certainly this was tragic, but police officers are tasked with insuring public safety, including the safety of personnel who are sent to try to resolve these kinds of situations," Alameda police Lt. Sean Lynch said.

D'Orazi also said crews may have decided it was too risky to attempt the rescue, even if they had not been shackled by the restrictions on water rescues.

In addition to the new policy, Alameda fire personnel will receive training in water rescues, and rescue equipment will be inspected to make sure it is not damaged, D'Orazi said.

The Coast Guard was called to the scene, but the water was too shallow for a boat, according to Lynch. A Coast Guard helicopter was apparently not immediately available.

There are no lifeguards at the beach, said Isa Polt-Jones, a spokeswoman with the East Bay Regional Park District.

Signs at the park advise swimmers to enter the water at their own risk.
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Re: Alameda drowning - Memorial day

Postby jaxonholer » Tue May 31, 2011 3:07 pm

I was done kiting alameda around 11am, there were very few of us out there. By 11am, wind got pretty weak, maybe there were 4 kiters losing the battle to stay upwind. It was not crowded at all, very few beach-goers that early.

I was gone by 1130, so I didn't see this happen, but it didn't happen with a very large crowd out there.

I'm just sayin...

my condolences to the family
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Re: Alameda drowning - Memorial day

Postby reyrivera » Tue May 31, 2011 5:50 pm

I guess we currently can't rely on Alameda local authorities as last resort rescue effort:

Update from insidebayarea.com:
http://www.insidebayarea.com/top-stories/ci_18177424

insidebayarea.com wrote:
Alameda: City reviews emergency response after drowning
By Peter Hegarty
Staff Writer
Posted: 05/31/2011 03:39:52 PM PDT
Updated: 05/31/2011 05:31:39 PM PDT

ALAMEDA -- City officials are investigating why police and firefighters remained on a beach and watched as a 52-year-old man stood in the surf and apparently took his own life on Memorial Day.

The officers and firefighters -- who later said they are not trained in land/water rescue -- also remained on the beach as a passer-by waded into the water and pulled the man's body to shore after he drowned.

"We are absolutely going to do an investigation," Mayor Marie Gilmore said. "And we are planning to do it in as transparent a way as possible."

Raymond Zack paced back and forth along the shore for several minutes before he waded into the waves about 11:30 a.m. on a stretch of Robert Crown Memorial State Beach along Shoreline Drive near Willow Street, according to witnesses.

For nearly an hour, Zack stood in the neck-deep water -- sometimes raising his arms above the surface -- before he eventually floated away about 150 yards from shore.

Police and firefighters said they arrived within minutes of receiving the 911 call that Zack was attempting to commit suicide at the beach. But firefighters did not enter the water because they are not trained in land/water rescue, while police said they did not immediately step in because Zack was suicidal and possibly violent.

"It's a very tragic event," police Lt. Sean Lynch said. "But he was engaged in a deliberate act of taking his own life. We did not know whether he was violent, whether drugs were involved. It's not a situation of a typical rescue." On Tuesday, interim fire Chief Mike D'Orazi said he was instituting an immediate policy change that would allow a senior firefighter discretion on how best to respond to an emergency in the water.

D'Orazi also said a rescue swimmer certification program for Alameda firefighters would be "on the fast track."

The death of Zack comes as city officials are considering axing up to nine police jobs and five positions at the fire department to make up a $7.4 million budget deficit.

"Obviously, we need to review any decisions that have been made in the past (about training) as we look at our current budget," Gilmore said.

D'Orazi said the fire department's water rescue program was shelved in March 2009 due to cuts. The loss of overtime also led to fewer training hours for firefighters, he said. As a result, department policy prevented firefighters from entering the water to help Zack, D'Orazi said.

Witness Sharon Brunetti said she was walking on Crown beach with her husband when Zack's stepmother stopped her and asked her to call 911, saying Zack was threatening to kill himself and had just waded into the water.

Zack stood with his back to the shore, sometimes glancing back over his shoulder at the beach, Brunetti said.

Brunetti said Zack "gradually inched out farther and farther" from the shore.

"The next thing he was floating face down," she said.

When the tide swept Zack's body back about 50 yards from shore, a passer-by swam out and pulled it into the beach, witnesses said. Zack was pronounced dead at Alameda Hospital. He was in the water about an hour. The water temperature was about 55 degrees, Lynch said.

The U.S. Coast Guard was notified at 11:34 a.m. -- or three minutes after dispatchers received the 911 call saying Zack was in the water threatening suicide -- and launched a 25-foot response boat from Yerba Buena Island and a helicopter from Air Station San Francisco, officials said.

The boat could not reach Zack because the water was too shallow, Coast Guard Petty Officer Erik Swanson said. The helicopter was initially delayed because it needed to refuel.

Lynch said it "couldn't be further from the truth" that emergency workers did nothing as Zack drowned.

"That's simply not the case," he said. "Every circumstance is different and there are protocols that need to be followed."

But Brunetti said witnesses were still shocked that no officer or firefighter went into the water to try and save Zack.

"It's like you are living in a different country that does not care about its citizens," she said.

Staff Writer Angela Hill contributed to this report.
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Re: Re: Alameda drowning - Sunday before Memorial day

Postby kitenaked » Tue May 31, 2011 5:50 pm

ramsey wrote:New policy in works after man dies in SF Bay
AP

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By SUDHIN THANAWALA, Associated Press Sudhin Thanawala, Associated Press – 12 mins ago

SAN FRANCISCO – Fire officials will change water rescue policy after crews did not try to save a suicidal man who waded into San Francisco Bay and died after about an hour in the frigid water, authorities said Tuesday.

Alameda Interim Fire Chief Mike D'Orazi called Monday's incident troubling and said he directed staff to write a new policy that would allow commanders at the scene to attempt a water rescue.

The previous policy strictly forbade such attempts. It was implemented after budget cuts forced the department to discontinue water rescue training and stop maintaining wetsuits and other rescue gear, D'Orazi said.

"The incident yesterday was deeply regrettable," he said. "But I can also see it from our firefighters' perspective. They're standing there wanting to do something, but they are handcuffed by policy at that point."

Fire crews and police watched as the man, identified by authorities only as an Alameda resident in his early 50s, stood up to his neck in the water at Crown Memorial State Beach, witnesses told KGO-TV. His lifeless body was pulled out about an hour later by a swimmer who went in after him.

"We expected to see at some point that there would be a concern for him," Gary Barlow told the news station.

Perry Smith, another witness, said the man was visible from the shore and was looking at people.

A police official said the decision to not go in after the man was hard, but officers did not have the gear for the cold water and couldn't risk being pulled under themselves.

"Certainly this was tragic, but police officers are tasked with insuring public safety, including the safety of personnel who are sent to try to resolve these kinds of situations," Alameda police Lt. Sean Lynch said.

D'Orazi also said crews may have decided it was too risky to attempt the rescue, even if they had not been shackled by the restrictions on water rescues.

In addition to the new policy, Alameda fire personnel will receive training in water rescues, and rescue equipment will be inspected to make sure it is not damaged, D'Orazi said.

The Coast Guard was called to the scene, but the water was too shallow for a boat, according to Lynch. A Coast Guard helicopter was apparently not immediately available.

There are no lifeguards at the beach, said Isa Polt-Jones, a spokeswoman with the East Bay Regional Park District.

Signs at the park advise swimmers to enter the water at their own risk.


Now they are changing policy...

I am having a hard time with this.
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Re: Alameda drowning - Memorial day

Postby windhorny » Tue May 31, 2011 6:19 pm

It's sad because we think we don't need a service until it is too late. Then it ends up costing WAY more than if they had just kept things the way they were. And all the bureaucratic arguing always ends up being more costly than any of the annual costs for most of these services. I bet the amount spent in paper work would easily cover 2 life guards at the beach. That's a pretty crappy way to go. Hopefully his soul is at peace.
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Re: Alameda drowning - Memorial day

Postby dz » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:38 am

Rest in peace Raymond Zack, and thank you for making us reconsider...
Free your mind and your azz will follow. GC
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Re: Alameda drowning - Memorial day

Postby Greg » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:58 am

If anyone cares to read my response(s) they are one the other thread-

RIP-Zack

Take care everyone-

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