2010-08-13 / Top Stories

Man Drowns At Riis Park

By Nicholas Briano

A Yonkers, New York man in the water at Riis Park during the morning hours when lifeguards were off-duty, drowned on Tuesday, ac-cording to police.

Roberto Bharat, 32, was in the water with three other friends when, according to reports, he pretended to his friends that he couldn’t stay afloat, but was then actually pulled under the tide shortly after 5:30 a.m.

U.S. Park Police received the call about Bharat around 6:00 a.m. and responded to find that his friends had pulled him out of the ocean and were attempting to perform CPR on him. Paramedics arrived on the scene and rushed him to Peninsula Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead at 7:21 a.m.

This is the third drowning at Riis Park this summer, all when lifeguards were off-duty.

Congressman Anthony Weiner held a water safety press conference in June and warned people of the dangers of swimming when lifeguards are offduty. Rockaway, Weiner said, is statistically, the most dangerous beach, accounting for 70 percent of New York City drownings since 2000. And although riptides are often the main culprit, officials have stated that lifeguards are trained to recognize them and are capable of saving a swimmer in the event of a rip current.

Congressman Anthony Weiner and Dave Taft, coordinator of the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, talk about the dangers of riptides at Riis Park back in June. Congressman Anthony Weiner and Dave Taft, coordinator of the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, talk about the dangers of riptides at Riis Park back in June. “This unfortunate drowning highlights why we need increased funding for lifeguard training and campaigns to raise public awareness of these deadly currents.” Weiner said in response to the incident.

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