Today, Monday, Memorial Day for crissake, 75 people stood on our shoreline and watched a fully-dressed man walk out into the water at Crown Beach then proceed to stand there up to his neck in the water….and did nothing.  And not only did nothing, did nothing for NINETY MINUTES until the man drowned.

The AFD was there. The APD was there.  And a whole lot of spectators. The APD stood by and watched. The AFD stood by and watched. And every single spectator stood by….and watched. NO ONE RESCUED THIS MAN.


The guy was standing in water for crissake! Exactly who isn’t able to walk out there and help this man?!  What I want to know is, how can anyone NOT do something?! But out of 75 people standing on the beach…no one formed a team and a plan to help this guy?


What?! The strong/trained firefighters don’t get paid enough to take a risk to walk out into water neck-deep and effect a rescue? I understand the water rescue team was cut, but c’mon! They couldn’t have done something?  A trained team of firefighters couldn’t have hatched a successful plan to rescue this fellow? Sure they could have. You KNOW they can. So what was it? Management? Liability concerns? What?! Had to be policy.

This was someone’s son out there, desperately in need!  Between the APD and the AFD something surely could have been done in the first 30 minutes, but 90?!  That and the USCG was nowhere to be found.  And this wreaks of the samo samo from the USCG: like the crude oil spill we called them for, and they refused to investigate because they would have to start up a boat at night to go have a look. Hello?! Isn’t that their freaking job?!

A civilian for crissake went out and retrieved the body!!!!!!!!!!

The KGO news story is here.


Time and time again, the AFD fails to respond to toxic events using contemporary standards that would protect us; their choices have caused significant pollution to our bodies, water, air and land.  And now this.  THIS IS SO DISTURBING.



About Denise Lai

Alive. Swim (fly is the best). Walking with my dog (weims are the best). Life is good. Would prefer people understood negative externalities and prevented themselves from creating them. Feeling the love anyway. View all posts by Denise Lai

6 responses to “Un-f****ing-believable.

  • Adam Gillitt

    It would appear neither the AFD nor the APD have basic water rescue training. This is a tragedy that SHOULD have been prevented. Alameda is entirely surrounded by water.

  • Adam Gillitt


    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.

  • Denise Lai

    Adam: I know. It’s still UNACCEPTABLE. What would have happened if Alameda County were the first responders? You can bet the rescue would have been effected.

  • Liz Williams

    I’ve never been more ashamed to live in Alameda. Usually the backwards, somewhat pathetic nature of services and life on this island is amusing. This story, however, is nauseating.

    I’m with you Denise – let’s out-source all of it: Police AND fire. Nauseating.

    • Denise Lai

      Liz: agreed. I cannot believe this. How can this be? How could 75 people let a single man drown? In shallow water? Near the shore? It’s impossible to believe this is true about our local organizations and humanity, but there it is.

  • Denise Lai

    Adam: a small boat was launched from San Francisco?! What?! We have no skiffs in Alameda?! No swimmers who could brave the cold with a rush of adrenaline? No kite and sail boarders, familiar with the waters, who could organize and do something in time? No one did anything until it was too late. Why? Because everyone expects the first responders to do their freaking jobs.

    Like the woman in the UK charged with trespassing on school property because she had the sensibility to walk across the school yard and rescue a kid in a 20-foot tree after he’d been stuck for 45 min. The school staff had withdrawn from the tree and was at the ready to call emergency services when the kid fell…but was unwilling to do anything until then. Staff called the police and insisted the woman was in the wrong. WTF?

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