BRADENTON BEACH – An unidentified 80-year-old man who strolled to the end of the Bradenton Beach Pier at the end of Bridge Street on Friday escaped injury due to the heroic efforts of two Anna Maria Oyster Bar (AMOB) employees.
On the afternoon of March 3, the man took a stroll down the pier with his wife. According to witnesses on the scene, he was leaning over the railing at the end of the pier where the water is the deepest when his glasses fell into the water. The man then made a quick decision to jump in the water to get them back, but was unable to get back up the pier and was in danger of drowning.
According to AMOB employees, when the man went in the water, his wife immediately called the restaurant first, instead of 911, because she knew someone could respond much more quickly, and that’s exactly what happened. As soon as the hostess got the call, employees Roo Tuttle and Frederick Brown ran to the end of the pier as fast as they could. Tuttle then jumped in the water to help the man, who could not get footing to climb back up to the pier.
“He was floating and holding on to part of the pier after he swam to where he could get some footing, but could not get to a ladder that was nearby,” Brown said. “Roo just jumped in the water and pushed up his feet to lift him up, and I grabbed his hands and pulled while she pushed. We got him out safely, and everybody was unhurt.”
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Marine Rescue Unit (MCSO) was the first to arrive on the scene, followed shortly after by Bradenton Beach police and EMS. The man told responders he was unhurt and did not require any EMS treatment. Brown said after the man dried off, he thanked them for being good Samaritans and got on his bike and rode away. Brown also said that the man being a bicycle enthusiast and physically fit probably made a big difference in his ability to be rescued.
A call from The Sun to MCSO confirmed they responded to the scene and the incident was listed as a near-drowning of an 80-year-old male, however, they did not record the man’s name. Bradenton Beach Police also had no report of the man’s name. The AMOB employees said they were more focused on his welfare than his identity, so nobody on the scene could confirm who the victim was.
In the end, the question everyone was asking was whether or not the man got his $700 glasses back.
He retrieved them and held on to them for the entire ordeal, and rode away on his bike wearing them. While this incident has a happy ending, Marine Rescue and Bradenton Beach police both warn that it’s not worth the danger of jumping off the pier if someone drops a cell phone or a pair of glasses. There won’t always be someone close to save a life.