VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A man died after being pulled from the water near 12th Street at the Oceanfront, Monday afternoon.
Police dispatchers said the emergency call came in at 2:12 p.m. According to police, the call was about a man who was unable to swim to shore.
While lifeguards are no longer on duty, witnesses reportedly ran to try to help the man.
“I got as far as I could, but I couldn’t quite make it to him before he went under,” says Joe Drake. “And it was just real bad to hear somebody hollering for help, screaming for help and you can’t get to ’em. It was just really bad.”
Drake recalled hearing the man shouting that he was unable to swim. Family members reportedly shouted to him from the shore.
“He definitely lost control, it was like a riptide got him,” says witness Rick Plouffe. “All of a sudden, you see his head go down and come up.”
Witnesses told 10 On Your Side that a recreational boat tried to throw a flotation device to the victim, but the waters were too choppy.
Fire officials, police and EMS responded to the scene. Rescue crews, along with a witness, pulled the victim to shore using a rescue boat.
“They worked on him for a good 20 minutes…chest compressions on the shore, because he was totally out,” Plouffe recalled. “And after about 20 minutes, they wrapped him up in towels and blankets and everything and put him on the back of the police vehicle.”
The man was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Tuesday, Virginia Beach Police identified the victim as 52-year-old Eddie Van Peake of Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. He was visiting Virginia Beach with his family.