ATLANTIC CITY — A Massachusetts man and a Pennsylvania woman died Saturday after being pulled from the ocean off Atlantic City, Beach Patrol Chief Rod Aluise said Sunday.
Lifeguards performed CPR and firefighters used a defibrillator after pulling Samuel Jackson, 21, of Lowell, Mass., and Thewinco Caesar, 22, of Darby, Pa., from the ocean just before 7 p.m. at a beach that Fire Chief Dennis Brooks called one of the most dangerous in the city.
The two were then taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, where they were pronounced dead.
“It’s a real tragedy,” Aluise said of Saturday’s deaths, the first of this summer season.
He added that the rescuers involved were all affected by the outcome after hoping they had saved the two people. “It has an emotional impact on the rescuers. It’s hard,” Aluise said.
Aluise said Jackson and Caesar were among a larger group in the water near the rock jetty at Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard. Lifeguards, some on personal watercraft, had been working to move bathers out of the area, because there had been other rescues in the day, he said.
One lifeguard saw one of the bathers go down. Rescuers then learned two people were missing.
“They went right down in the water,” Aluise said.
Rescuers searched the area around the jetty. They found Caesar first and administered CPR. Jackson was found about 10 minutes later, Aluise said. CPR was performed, and they were taken to the hospital.
Brooks warned the public about the beach off Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard last summer, when there were two fatalities there, on June 10 and on Aug. 2. A stone jetty and an outfall pipe that leaves scour holes on the ocean floor are part of the problem, Brooks said.
“The male got stuck under the outfall pipe. There are a lot of deep holes and currents. A lifeguard had to dive down and get him out. The lifeguards did a tremendous, tremendous job. The male was in worse shape than the female, because he was trapped under there,” Brooks said.
The call came in just before 7 p.m. The Atlantic City Beach Patrol has personnel on duty after the beaches close and was quickly on the scene, calling immediately to a police dispatcher for an ambulance while performing CPR.
The Atlantic City Fire Department also responded with its water rescue crew and equipment from Station 2, including defibrillators. At one point the U.S. Coast Guard and New Jersey Marine Police were to be called to look for Jackson, but at 7:09 p.m., a lifeguard informed the police dispatcher that both victims were out of the water.
Aluise said the nature of the water near the jetty changes with the currents and the lifeguards work to move bathers to safer areas as needed.
“It’s an ongoing problem to keep bathers in safe areas,” he said.
Staff Writer Richard Degener contributed to this report.
Contact Trudi Gilfillian: