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WEEKEND #14, 2010

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware



A massive search was launched in Ocean City after a swimmer disappeared in the ocean off 20th Street.

Four swimmers were reported in distress and heard yelling for help around 7:50 p.m. Saturday.

Stephen Price, fire/EMS spokesman, says several lifeguards arrived within minutes and rescued three of the swimmers. A fourth swimmer, described as a 22-year-old Hispanic man wearing black shorts, is missing. His friends reportedly told officials they saw him disappear in the surf.

O.C. Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin says his guards never saw the missing man. He was already submerged before the first rescuers arrived.

Beach patrol, police, fire/EMS, Coast Guard, Maryland Natural Resources Police and Maryland State Police assisted in the search. That included five boats and two helicopters.

The current has been moving south, and that is where they had concentrated the search efforts.

Price says the beach patrol went off duty at 5:30 p.m. A small lifeguard contingent was on call because of the approaching hurricane. Price says he expects swimming conditions to deteriorate as the hurricane approaches. He urges people to use caution and only swim when guards are on duty (10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Ocean City).

Price says the lifeguards made 250 surf rescues on Saturday.

WUSA-TV reporter Surae Chinn has an interview with the man's girlfriend that aired in Sunday night's newscast.

Below, rescue boats using high-intensity search lights silhouette police horse, SUV and crowd.

Photos by Bob Pugh, BlindSpot News Service.



Rehoboth Beach lifeguards called for ambulances three times on Sunday for persons who were injured while in the surf.

The most serious was a 56-year-old man who reportedly got caught in a riptide and tumbled on the bottom of the surf near Hickman Street. The lifeguards discovered him unable to move lying face-up in the surf just before 3 p.m.

Robert Stuart, Sussex County EMS director, says the man "suffered a spinal injury after being caught up in rip currents and could not get back to shore by himself. He was thrown around in the surf after becoming weak from fighting the rip currents."

When the lifeguards arrived to assist, the victim was unable to move below his neck. Once the guards placed him on a backboard and removed him from the surf, he regained some movement in his feet, but was complaining of a burning sensation and tingling in his arms and legs, along with severe neck pain and pain in the back between his shoulder blades. He told them he did not remember being in the ocean.

After removing the man from the beach in the RBP Gator, an ambulance crew took him to the Rehoboth Elementary School where he was flown to Christiana Hospital.




Mike Seidel reported from Rehoboth Beach for the Weather Channel and other news outlets such as WBAL-TV. He was on the beach both Saturday and Sunday discussing dangerous rip currents caused by Hurricane Danielle.

With him was a satellite truck from Dawnbreaker Communications of Falls Church, Virginia.



This was not the first time this summer when a part from a jetty or outfall pipe washed ashore, or was brought to shore.

On Saturday, Rehoboth Beach lifeguards received a couple reports from swimmers that this 7-foot long plank had come loose and was adrift in the surf between Rehoboth and Baltimore avenues. The guards brought it to shore around 2:30 p.m.

It may have come from the Rehoboth Avenue outfall pipe which is missing a pair.

The outfall pipes that cross the beach are part of the city storm drain system, says Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Stan Mills. "What people see crossing the beach are the terminations of the storm drain outfalls that take the collective storm drain waters from different areas of the city and discharge them into the ocean."

"Normal wave action, not to mention storm wave action, can be brutal to the stationary support structure and can loosen the bolts holding the saddle supports (which cradle the pipe) to the pilings," Commissioner Mills points out. "Since they were installed a few years ago they have had to have periodic maintenance."

The wooden planks holding the outfall pipes at Rehoboth Avenue and Delaware Avenue, shown below, both have parts missing. Lifeguards inspected the one on Rehoboth Avenue late Saturday afternoon. It appears to have another pair of planks which are loose.


The outfall pipes on Maryland and Virginia avenue appear to be in better condition.

As the replenished beach sand continues to erode, the jetties, or groins, are becoming a threat as well. The city has been erecting new signs during past weeks to warn swimmers of their locations.



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says its ocean survey vessel, the Bold, has been taking samples off the Rehoboth-Dewey coast this past week.

Jalil Isa, EPA spokesman, says the ship was obtaining water samples throughout the mid-Atlantic area, including the near-shore area off Delaware.

The OSV Bold, Isa says, sampled from North Carolina to New Jersey during this recent voyage. EPA has been collecting data like this for the past 20 years.

According to the EPA's Website, the Bold supports EPA's efforts to monitor and assess impacts on ocean and coastal waters from land- and ocean-based human activities and naturally occurring ecological disturbances.

The 224-foot Bold, a converted U.S. Navy T-AGOS class vessel, normally berths in Port Canaveral, Florida, but is usually on a research mission. It is shown here while in Norfolk, Virginia.

Bill Richaardson, EPA Region 3 and OSV Bold Deck Technician Nathan Webb recover the large clamshell after a sediment grab, below.

Photos courtesy Eric Vance, U.S. EPA.



An odor of burning rubber and black smoke is to blame for setting off the fire alarm in the Star of the Sea condo's garage parking area around 2 a.m. Sunday.

Rehoboth Beach police and firefighters were summoned after they received a call from the condo's alarm company that the alarm had been activated.

The audible alarm could be heard several streets away. Most occupants self-evacuated while officials investigated.

Brian Hancock, condo manager, says the cause of the heavy smoke and stench of burning rubber was attributed to a guest spinning or "burning" his tires in the garage. The heat generated was sufficient to burn the surface of the concrete, see below. Investigations are ongoing to identify the culprit.

Photo courtesy Brian Hancock, Star of the Sea



This season in Rehoboth Beach could go down as the season of the civil citation. This group of three beach goers off Baltimore Avenue was caught with a six pack of Rolling Rock beer around 2:35 p.m. on Sunday.

Police have issued about 50 civil citations this season for possessing glass containers on the beach. The $25 civil citation is a non-criminal offense, unlike the open container of alcohol ordinance.

Police Chief Keith Banks says officers give many offenders a verbal warning, including probably those who drink beer from aluminum cans. Officers patrol the beach, Chief Banks says, to discourage people from drinking or causing trouble.

"In the past some offenses, such as not cleaning up after a pet, were criminal offenses," says Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Stan Mills, who voted for the civil citation change in 2008.

"This means if found guilty a violator would have a criminal record," Commissioner Mills says. "For this reason I believe the police were hesitant to be heavy handed in enforcing those laws. Now, with specific offenses redirected to be civil offenses, it is comparable to receiving a parking meter violation which would result in a monetary fine but likely not a fine plus a criminal record if the offense had remained a criminal offense."

Around 5 p.m. Sunday, the beach patrol called police after receiving a complaint of intoxicated beach goers at Rehoboth Avenue making other people uncomfortable. But police were unable to locate the suspects.

Rehoboth Beach has these 21 civil offenses which include animals, beaches, fishing and boating, peace and good order, and solid waste. All carry a $25 fine with the exception of disturbing the peace, which is $100. By comparison, the fine for an expired parking meter is $30.

The civil offenses were adopted in June, 2008. The police issued 15 civil citations that year, and 218 during 2009. With 50 issued just for glass containers on the beach during 2010, the number will likely continue to increase this year.



One woman was furious and called police around 7:10 p.m. Saturday after she accused another motorist of stealing a parking space in the ocean block of Delaware Avenue.

She said she was turning around to park in the space when the driver of a Ford F150 stole it from her. After parking, the other driver simply walked off while she contacted police.




These bush-like plants have been spreading in the dunes along the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, mostly on the north side of town this season.

Three plant experts on the Yahoo Groups Gardens And Nature-Plants And Flowers and Plant Swap have identified this plant as Xanthium (cocklebur). Check out the USDA or wikipedia.org for more details. It's the plant with the annoying thorny seed!




Here are two found growing at the Boardwalk Plaza and Jake's Seafood Restaurant. Know of any others? Please send the photos for next week!




BOATERS RESCUED FROM VESSEL ON INLET JETTY--- A boat became stuck against the inlet jetty in Ocean City just before 2 a.m. Saturday. The Coast Guard was assisted by firefighters who used ladders and rope to help remove the boat's occupants and secure the vessel. It took about an hour. The Coast Guard was going to call a commercial towing company to remove the vessel later Saturday. There were no injuries.


REINO PARKING METERS SHOW "FREE PARKING" MESSAGE, AGAIN--- Rehoboth parking enforcers reported six multi-space parking meters displaying the "free parking" message on Friday. The trouble seems to be mostly reported between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., almost as if the meter's clock is off by an hour. Once discovered, the meters were quickly reset by a parking tech. Parking meters are enforced in Rehoboth from 10 a.m. to midnight.


ACCIDENTS ON RT.50 BRIDGE INTO O.C.--- A couple accidents on the Harry Kelly Bridge tied up Ocean City traffic this weekend. The first crash was on Saturday, around 5:30 p.m. EMS personnel wanted to fly one of the injured, but later decided to take him by ground to the hospital. Around 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, another crash, this one involving motor scooters, tied up traffic as well. But injuries were not serious.


REHOBOTH VISITORS MISPLACE 2 CARS IN 10 MINUTES--- Rehoboth Beach police handled back-to-back missing car complaints early Sunday. The first was a Lincoln Aviator on Sussex Street around 12:15 a.m. It turned out that the man's friend had picked up the "missing" vehicle. Police gave him a ride home. Ten minutes later, police were summoned to Norfolk Street where occupants misplaced a Nissan Maxima. Police took the driver for a ride, and they spotted the car parked on Stockley Street, the next street north.



Fisherman hooks possible human bone at IR Inlet (Wednesday)

Dewey seasonal officer honored for saving firefighter's life

Dewey Beach PD issuing fewer parking tickets

Dewey, developer continue settlement talks

Bay Bridge repairs/lane closures this week!

Tiny cracks in concrete of Indian River Inlet Bridge

SOLA3 protects freshwater lakes (Rehoboth)

Resort towns start to empty as the school year approaches

Rehoboth Destination Station meets local resistance

False alarms (water searches) at beach carry big price

Changes in lifeguard hours at Delaware State Parks

OCPD officer collides with female bicyclist (Wednesday)

Shore Stop robbed near Ocean Pines (Wednesday)

Rehoboth PD arrest peeping Tom (Wednesday)


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