PARSIPPANY — A 46-year old Pennsylvania man who required medical assistance on the beach died at a local hospital days later.
At 6:28 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10 Ocean City Police dispatch received a call reporting a bather in distress at an unguarded beach at 10th street. The police and fire departments responded and began CPR on the victim, Heriberto Roman, 46, of Ivyland, Pa. with the assistance of a beachgoer with medical training. This beachgoer was Parsippany resident Brian Wheelock.
On that sunny day in July the water temperature 76 degrees and the surf was rough with an eight mile per hour south/southwest wind. The beach was not protected by lifeguards according to the police report. It was also reported by Beach Patrol Lieutenant Kirk that all swimmers were called in at the end of the shift day (approximately 5:00 p.m.) and strongly advised not to go back in the ocean.
When paramedics arrived an automated external defibrillator was applied to Mr. Roman’s chest, however a shock was not advised because he had no pulse. The victim was transported to Shore Medical Hospital
Parsippany resident Brian Wheelock said “We did our best to save a 46-year-old man from drowning in Ocean City but sadly the outcome was tragic. I was relaxing on the beach when I heard cries for help and told two people to call 911 as I raced into the ocean (lifeguards were off duty).”
“The man was unconscious by the time I reached him – as I began to pull him in with his son a true Godsend (and pastor from PA) named Eric Gerber joined us and we were able to pull him to shore. As I started CPR with a doctor and firefighter Eric prayed over the whole situation (truly a miracle we were all there),” continued Wheelock.
More than two dozen lifeguards, police and EMS worked with Wheelock for twenty minutes and amazingly they got a pulse back by the time he was placed into the ambulance. Mr. Heriberto Roman remained critical but opened his eyes to see his wife and responded to verbal commands the next day.
Wheelock went to visit Heriberto at the hospital with Eric Gerber and both were able to pray over him and his family. His parents and other family flew in and all made it to see him but he sadly did not pull through and passed away two days later, at approximately 3:00 p.m. on July 12.
An autopsy of Mr. Roman revealed the cause of death as complications of a near drowning.
Brian is a proud member of the Parsippany Volunteer Ambulance.