A man with suspected hypothermia was rescued from the water by an Anne Arundel County fire boat Tuesday afternoon, just offshore from Beverly Triton Nature Park at the mouth of the South and Rhode rivers.
An Anne Arundel County Fire Department spokesman got a 911 call around 12:45 p.m. saying someone was yelling for help from the water, out past the jetty about 110–150 yards offshore. Park Ranger Karen Jarboe says a neighbor and one of the rangers first spotted the man.
Anne Arundel Fireboat 41, out of Shady Side, responded along with ground crews and pulled the man from the water at 1:07 p.m. Paramedics met the fireboat at a nearby pier and rushed him to a Maryland State Police helicopter, which took the man to Shock Trauma “with signs and symptoms consistent with hypothermia and near-drowning,” says fire spokesman Capt. Russ Davies.
Witness Bob Daley, who took photos of the rescue, tells Bay Bulletin, “I assumed that the cold water and hypothermia set in. He appeared unable to swim towards us.”
The ranger on scene believed the man may have been using a metal detector in the shallow water off the beach, but didn’t know what caused his inability to swim or walk back to shore.
With the water temperature in the area around 40 degrees this past week, the water could be “painfully cold”, according to the National Center for Cold Water Safety. Even at 50 degrees Fahrenheit, someone unprotected in the water could experience “total loss of breathing control and maximum intensity cold shock,” being “unable to control gasping and hyperventilation.”
-Meg Walburn Viviano