An 18-year-old boy was pulled from the surf—unconscious and unresponsive—at a Rockaway beach earlier this month. Now his father is placing the blame for the fatal drowning accident in New York on the city, saying it didn’t do enough to prevent the tragedy.
The boy was swimming in Queens on August 12th when he entered the water on a stretch of beach that was closed to swimming and had no lifeguard on duty. He was with his girlfriend who notified a Parks official 20 minutes after the victim had disappeared from view. The nearest lifeguard stations was a full two blocks away but the person stationed there was not allowed to leave the area to assist because there was no other lifeguard on duty at that station. This as the city faces a historic lack of lifeguard—just 1,013 for miles of sandy beaches and dozens of public pools. That’s the lowest number since 2016.
Investigators recreating the accident found that significant beach erosion had caused the city to close the beach because it was impossible to put a lifeguard chair in the proper location to spot swimmers in distress. There were red flags placed in the area—denoting a no-go zone for simmers—but the victim’s father argues that there should have been more substantial barriers (such as signage or saw horses) physically blocking off the dangerous stretch of sand.
Holding NYC liable for an accidental death will be difficult. The victim’s family will undoubtedly argue that swimmers routinely ignore the red flags; a fact that the city already knows or should have known from past experience. It was therefore incumbent upon the city to place an imposing sign advising of the danger to swimmers and the possible of serious injury or death.
If you’ve lost a loved one or have been injured in a near drowning incident, you need professional legal help. Speak with an expert downing accident attorney in New York City today. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 for your free consultation.