New York —
In the absence of lifeguards, helicopters and fire trucks arrived to remove the victim.
Early in the calendar, the Friday before Memorial Day, NYC had its first drowning of the summer. It surprises even more, considering that the city’s beaches are closed for swimming due to quarantine.
The first victim was an unidentified 24-year-old man who drowned in the waters of Rockaway Beach yesterday afternoon.
It was taken out of the water at the height of 91st Street only hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio detailed plans to open the beach sands, begging people not to go into the sea.
A witness who recorded a video on a cell phone of first responders transporting the victim expressed fear that pleas to stay ashore are not heard and lead to tragedy.
“Why are there no lifeguards? People are on the beach and are allowed to be on the sand but not in the water. This is going to happen over and over again. “the witness told the New York Post. “If there were lifeguards, we wouldn’t have had to call helicopters and fire trucks ”.
Police officers said the unidentified man and at least one other person had been jumping into the water.
The man was taken out of the sea around 2:50 p.m. and transferred to St. John’s Hospital in critical condition. He could not be revived and was pronounced dead around 3:40 p.m., police said.
The city traditionally begins monitoring the beaches with lifeguards on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, but it will not do so this year as part of a plan to strengthen social distancing and avoid swimming, barbecues, volleyball games. and other meetings.
Jane Meyer, a city spokeswoman, called the Rockaway Beach incident a “tragedy.”
“We urge all New Yorkers to stay out of the water: lifeguards are not on duty and no one should swim. This is a matter of life and death ”, said.
De Blasio also commented on Twitter: “We do not want to enclose the beaches, but we will if necessary.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens), whose district covers the area, said that “the mayor and the park commissioner must come up with a real and prompt plan” to ensure the safety of the beach. “When the weather improves, people will go to the beach en masse and there is nothing we can do about it ”.
State Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island / Brooklyn) tweeted a message to De Blasio saying that three bathers had been pulled from Rockaways: “Please, mayor, we are headed for tragedy. If we can’t have lifeguards now, we need fire boats to patrol. ”
New York state beaches opened for swimming Friday with limited capacities and with lifeguards.
Mayor urges no swimming at NYC beaches after man drowns at Rockaway Beach https://t.co/YLeSkrKJkm pic.twitter.com/0nYS6y4Hn1
– PIX11 News (@ PIX11News) May 23, 2020
3 people pulled from the water in the Rockaways @NYCMayor, please, we are headed for tragedy. If we can’t have Lifeguards now, we need Fireboats to patrol @ MarkTreyger718 @RepJeffries @HeyNowJO @ MaxRose4NY @SenJoeAddabbo @ DRichards13
– Senator Diane Savino (@dianesavino) May 22, 2020
I need every New Yorker to heed the warning: there’s NO swimming on our beaches during this crisis. It is NOT safe.
We don’t want want to fence off the beaches but we will if we have to.
We’ll have extra Parks and NYPD walking the beaches this weekend to keep New Yorkers safe. https://t.co/hd5JixxcTD
– Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 22, 2020