At approximately 2:30 pm Saturday, South Beach lifeguards responded to a call that CPR was in progress at Norton Point after a potential drowning.
According to head lifeguard at South Beach, Meghan Sonia, she and her assistant head lifeguard, Alex Vasiliadis, responded about two miles down from where they were stationed.
Once on scene, medic Kate Foster and EMT Steve Foster were performing CPR on a man who was unconscious with no pulse.
Oak Bluffs EMT Belle Dinning was also on scene to assist.
“We jumped right in, got our AEDs padded on, and kept doing CPR,” Sonia said.
A truck was brought out and the man was placed in the truck bed on top of a blanket where lifeguards and medical technicians continued to perform CPR.
The entire time the man was undergoing CPR, he had no pulse, Sonia said, until the assisting group was able to get him off the beach.
No defibrillation was needed, and once the man was in an Edgartown ambulance, he regained a pulse, and was airlifted by MedFlight to MassGeneral Hospital.
According to Sonia, she was told from witnesses that the man dove into the water to enter the heavy surf, and could have potentially injured his spine and subsequently hit his head.
“If you look out here and the waves are crashing on the beach, usually that means it’s pretty shallow underneath you, so a lot of people kind of dive into the waves without knowing. And so people told us he ended up diving into the waves and could have been potentially injured, so we think maybe something spinal happened and he may have hit his head and lost consciousness,” Sonia said. “At that point he had resurfaced and was face down, so that’s when he possibly could have drowned, and that’s when he lost consciousness and was unresponsive.”
Sonia said the man was fortunate there were emergency response personnel already on the beach.