2001-08-11 / Letters

Bravest And Finest

Bravest And Finest

Last weekend, a group of protesters gathered on the beach, at the scene of the tragic drowning of three young girls, who were visiting from New Jersey. There were some harsh criticisms made in response to the rescue efforts of the NYPD and FDNY, and I would like to set the record straight for "Protest Spokesman" John Baxter, and "Protest Leader" Floyd Smith, who seem to feel that the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Volunteer Fire Department is faster and better equipped than the finest rescue units in the world.

First of all, the 101 Pct. units that received the initial job, were on the scene in less than five minutes, and began searching the waters, and as we know, an officer from that precinct was able to pull a body from the water and begin CPR. An NYPD Air-Sea Rescue Helicopter was on the scene within nine minutes of the call, and had divers jumping from the helicopter as soon as they arrived. FDNY sent a firefighter in the water on a rescue board, and several other firemen just kicked off their shoes, and began wading through the surf against the strong current that had just swept away the three girls. A massive search and rescue operation was underway, and lasted through the night, and into the next day. For the next three days the NYPD SCUBA unit spent every daylight hour in the dangerous waters of Reynolds Channel, in an effort to recover the two missing bodies, and the Harbor and Aviation units spent a full eight days searching the waters, and only stopped when the last body was recovered.

Does anyone really believe that volunteers from Nassau County could have raced from their homes, and their jobs on a Monday morning, gotten to the Firehouse, and responded to the scene before the City Departments were there? I ask that the both of you try to get your facts straight before opening your mouths next time, and please know that when you dial 911 in this city, you can count on getting the best service available anywhere in the country. You two can call whomever you want. As tragic as this situation was, I hope a lesson was learned, and the next time a person, who cannot swim, takes seven children who cannot swim to the beach, he will do it when lifeguards are on duty.

ROBERT CONTI


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