First responders watch as man drowns
June 1, 2011
First responders watched as a man drowned in the San Francisco Bay because policies did not allow them to enter the water. [CNN]
The man was apparently suicidal, entered the bay off Alameda Beach on Monday and stood in neck-deep water, then treaded water. Police and firefighters were called to the scene. They watched from the bank as the man drowned.
City officials said that police did not want first responders to enter the water in case the man was armed. In addition, Alameda officials told CNN that because of a lack of funding for shore-to-water rescue, firefighters had no one properly trained to go into the water.
Following the man’s death, Alameda changed its policies regarding water rescues.
The events of Memorial Day were “very difficult and very regrettable,” Alameda Interim Fire Chief Michael D’Orazi told CNN Wednesday.
The firefighters on the beach “were incredibly frustrated by this whole situation,” he said, adding that “they wanted to get in, they wanted to take action.”
A woman ultimately tried to save the drowning man, but was too late, and ended up pulling his body to shore, CNN said.