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Update: Lifeguards, Local Rescue Crews Team Up to Save Jet Skiers

Six departments descend upon Sun and Surf Beach Club to rescue two jet skiers off jetty.

Updated 9:06 p.m. 

Multiple fire and police departments teamed up with lifeguards at a local beach club in a dramatic rescue of two distressed jet skiers Memorial Day afternoon, confirmed Atlantic Beach Rescue officials.

At about 2:45 p.m., an unidentified boater fell from a jet ski just off the jetty of Sun and Surf Beach Club, officials said. Bystanders on land noticed the situation as a second man, who was also riding the jet ski, tried unsuccessfully to retrieve his friend.

Sun and Surf lifeguards rushed to the scene and began a water rescue as witnesses placed a 911 call, which summoned several nearby emergency crews. Teams from Atlantic Beach Rescue, Nassau County Police, Inwood Fire Department, Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department, and Long Beach Fire Department responded to the incident.

Atlantic Beach Rescue's Marine 3628, a 28-foot rescue boat, quickly removed the two victims from the water and brought them to their headquarters. The victims were then transported to St. John's Hospital in Far Rockaway by Atlantic Beach Rescue and Lawrence-Cedarhurst fire crews.

Ambulances from Inwood and Long Beach fire departments were also on scene to provide support.

NYPD also deployed a helicopter as backup in case a rescue of additional swimmers was needed.

“This was a great example of a number of south-shore agencies working together to make a rescue,“ said Atlantic Beach Rescue Chief of Department Neil Metz.

“People need to remember that even though it’s Memorial Day, the water is still very cold out there.  It’s important that people wear the proper safety equipment, including a wetsuit and personal floatation device, before venturing out on the water.”


Stephen S May 27, 2014 at 08:28 AM
As the Head Lifeguard of Sun & Surf Beach Club I can tell you exactly what happened. We received a call concerning 2 persons in the water west of the Jetty in the inlet that apparently fell off of a jetski. Myself along with ocean lifeguards Neil Gimpel, Thomas Theodorson, Erin Lusenskas, Patrick Gerspach responded to the scene. We took a 4x4 to the inlet with a 10' rescue board. Neil Gimple, (ocean lifeguard at SSBC for over 20 years) climbed down the jetty, entered the water, I gave him the rescue board, Neil paddled out to the victims and placed one victim on the board. the other clung to the jetski. To further complicate the rescue, one victim had a limb disability and both arms were only elbow length. They had no westuits in the frigid water and were wearing the antiquated May West type of flotation devices. Lifeguard Patrick Gerspach also entered the water and later Allen Rizzo Jr an EMT from Inwood Rescue. One victim was able to get back on the jetski and throw a tow rope to Neil Gimple who had already begun paddling the victim with the incoming tide toward the nearest possible exit point. Several minutes later AB Rescue arrived in a boat and took Neil and the victims back to AB Rescue Headquarters under the AB Bridge. Long Beach Lifeguards also sent a team to respond. I saw Rich Schuh and Ethan Edrich. Neil Gimpel is retired NYFD and a long time member of my crew. Sun & Surf Lifeguards Neil and Patrick sustained only a few cuts from climbing down the jetty, the victims were treated by the AB Rescue personnel and no further info is known at this time. I just wanted to set the record straight and thank my crew in public. A serious tragedy on opening weekend was narrowly avoided. Riding tandem on a jetski in the open ocean, no wetsuits in frigid water, improper personal flotation, no added safety measure for a passenger with a condition that prevented him from being able to climb back onto the watercraft.
Stephen S May 27, 2014 at 09:14 AM
As for the earlier comments by Tideline and Lear Jet regarding AB Rescue, I beg to differ. I've been a lifeguard at that end of our barrier island for 32 years and the Head Lifeguard at Sun & Surf Beach Club for more than 25. I have dealt with their responders literally hundreds of times. We have had numerous situations including multiple helicopter medi-vacs, spinal injuries, heart attacks, strokes, severed arteries, you name it. Never once have I witnessed unprofessionalism. Given their proximity they have an extremely rapid response time. Perhaps you have other professional or personal issues with AB Rescue, but I believe you should take it up with them directly. This article was about a response to a near tragedy.
christie nicolle May 27, 2014 at 12:21 PM
thank you MUCH Stephen for your service!! Remind the jerks you risk your life every summer. They owe you apology.
Sent from my Lear Jet June 03, 2014 at 04:54 AM
Tideline commented on the article "Update: Lifeguards, Local Rescue Crews Team Up to Save Jet Skiers" you commented on in Police & Fire: Applause for a job well done by the beach club and AB Rescue. Stephen, if you had just come on here and given a detailed report, since the initial Patch story was so botched, you would have been providing a service. But, since you instead chose to demean Lear Jet and My comments, I will respond. I have no "professional or personal" issues with AB Rescue. I am not in the Police/Fire/ or Medical fields, nor am I a volunteer, although I have respect for those who do so honorably. So much for your half assed analysis and commentary. While I understand that you are a paid professional mouthpiece for your beach club and AB Rescue, this is a chat forum and since you can not handle other folks having a differing opinion than your's than perhaps you should make your PAID press releases somewhere else. I had no idea that Sun and Surf Beach club had "hundreds of calls for medi-vacs, spinal injuries, heart attacks, strokes, severed arteries, " etc. Sounds like Sun and Surf BC is a dangerous place to visit and more like a whole seasons worth of Bay Watch.

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