Home » Insight

TALK BACK: Alameda man drowns while emergency crews watch; Who’s at fault?

Alameda city officials promised an in-depth review of emergency procedures after a 52 year-old suicidal man took his own life at Crown Memorial Beach on Monday while police and firefighters stood at the shore and watched him sink into the shallow bay waters and drown to death.

The city’s fire department blamed deep budget cuts that eliminated its water rescue training program in 2009 as the primary reason why its firefighters did not go into the water to save the man.

The firefighters at the scene lacked the adequate training on how to perform water rescues, the city claimed. The Police Department said it was concerned that the man may have been violent and could have harmed officers if they went into the water.

Nearby citizens and beach goers eventually went into the water and brought the man’s body back to shore. He was later identified as Raymond Zack.

Alameda residents have sounded-off pretty loudly over the inaction by the city’s first responders and the revelation that a lifesaving program to train firefighters in land/ water rescues was nixed as part of Alameda’s savings plan — despite the fact that the city is an island.

Outraged? Then what needs to be done to give our brave first responders the necessary skills and tools to save lives? Is this another example of the deep effects of budget cuts on our public services, or a bureaucratic blunder that could have prevented Zack’s death?

Sound off below.

9 Comments »

  • Barbara said:

    Outraged? Hell yes I am!
    Then what needs to be done to give our brave first responders the necessary skills and tools to save lives? Brave first responders?! Bull Sh!t! There was nothing brave about what these first responders did or didn’t do! Are you trying to say that none of the 2 dozen AFD standing along the shoreline watching this man die, weren’t what the department BEFORE 2009, PLEASE! The man was in less than 5 ft of water. It’s not like their were trying to rescue the man from Ocean beach, with waves that can take the best of them?!?!?!? PLEASE.

    Is this another example of the deep effects of budget cuts on our public services, or a bureaucratic blunder that could have prevented Zack’s death? Don’t put all of the blame on budget cuts! Again, 5 ft of relatively clam water. What about human decency for a human being?! I’ve since rescuers try and rescue an animal in far worse conditions then the tragic event that took place in Alameda. Hell just this morning I saw a report about a news reporter in Arkansas rescue a women in a car over come by rushing water!
    What happened in Alameda is criminal!

  • Toddy said:

    You have to be kidding me…Alameda is an island which means that it is surrounded by water and neither our fire fighters or police can handle a situation where a person is in 5 feet of water??? Now we hear about buying equipment…what a bunch of crap…hasn’t anyone heard of surf boards??? Hawaii has used surf boards since the end of time to rescue people in trouble. If Alameda can’t afford several surf boards we really are in trouble. I also think the commanders or whatever, who allowed these firemen and police to just do nothing should all be fired, Not reprimanded, FIRED!

    Now Alameda is on the national news, how humilating for our city.

  • kelly said:

    I guess I will be real careful if I go wading or whatever in Alameda. God forbid I would need help! Unbelievable that any firefighter or police officer in this country would not do the RIGHT thing and choose to rescue someone!!

  • Mike said:

    Being a veteran, I can’t help but think where we would be if our soldiers would halt every time they faced an obstacle or rescue they “weren’t trained for”. They could’ve at least got wet and tried.

  • Heidi said:

    What a travesty! The fact that these trained, first-responders took no action amongst themselves to aid another human being in dire straits is shameful! Alameda’s “finest” are left looking like a pack of cowards. Those of us who remain will be on the alert for Alameda city employees who may stand by and let you die or be killed if attempting to save you has not been included in the city’s budget.

  • Tom said:

    The first thing people have to realize is that safety for the “first responders” is paramount.

    Unfortunately, someone idiot blamed “Budget cuts” as the primary reason why no rescue wasn’t performed to saved a “suicidal man.” Think about it people, it was a “SUICIDAL MAN” who was standing neck deep in water that you couldn’t see through. Remember, it’s the person’s hands that will kill you… If someone is telling you that they’re going to kill himself/herself and you can’t see where their hands are….chances are they’re prepared for some type of reaction or response from you. And you won’t know if they’re armed or not..until it’s too late.

    The guy was determined to kill himself and the police and firefighters couldn’t see what was in his hands. That’s why no one approached him or risked their life to try to save someone who had no compunction on taking you with them.

  • Eugene said:

    The Captains, Chiefs and the brave first responders are a disgrace to there community and should not be allowed to wear their uniforms again. They are only interested in getting more tax payer money. They are over paid cowards!

  • TexasDon said:

    I’m thankfull that I do not live in Pelosifornia! This is outrageous. It goes to show the state of apathy this country has fallen into! God help us all!

  • California Rocks said:

    Californians helping Californians. The narcissistic morality-deprived cruelty culture in this state (and esp in SF Bay Area & SoCal) creates people who can do this and justify it – and news for ya: they aren’t all cops and firefighters. I wonder how many people were on shore laughing at the fat guy in the water?

    California – You Suck!