UPDATE: Strong swimmer succumbs despite efforts by Rockland, Coast Guard, friends

Mon, 09/04/2023 - 11:30am

    ROCKLAND (Sept. 4, 2023) — A strong swimmer died in the ocean alongside the Rockland Breakwater, Sunday afternoon. He was not in unfamiliar waters, and he did not drown, according to a friend who organizes the weekly swims that brought a group of regulars and their safety observer to the local landmark on Sept. 3, 2023.

    Martin Turecky had been among this group, which has been meeting for approximately 20 years. He was an expert swimmer, in great shape, and had recently completed an eight-mile swim in the open ocean in Florida, according to the Rockland swim organizer, Douglas Roth.

    “He was happy to tell us about that epic swim as we gathered before our swim yesterday,” said Roth.

    In fact, he was cheerful all the way around and reminded the group several times of how happy he was to be at the Breakwater. Even within a couple of minutes of his last breath, he was heard to exclaim "I feel great. This is terrific!"

    On this day, he swam about 1.3 miles of the total 2-mile distance.

    “He was swimming strongly,” said Roth. “Completely impressive.”

    But then, he suddenly stopped moving, and floated in place, face down.

    The safety observer walking the Breakwater next to him quickly got him out of the water. That observer was carrying a radio and made direct contact with the Coast Guard, which is stationed in Rockland Harbor. As this was happening, an EMT happened to be passing by. CPR was initiated as more emergency personnel made their way to his location by land and by boat. But all attempts at revival failed.

    Turecky had suffered an as-yet-determined medical event, according to Roth, and succumbed in the water where he swam.

    “He wasn't a weak swimmer and he didn't drown,” said Roth.

    Rockland, Coast Guard respond to report of unconscious man on Breakwater

    ROCKLAND (Sept. 3, 2023) — Rockland emergency personnel responded quickly to a report of CPR in progress approximately halfway down the Breakwater, Sunday afternoon, Sept. 3, just after 1:45 p.m.

    On-duty and off-duty firefighters hightailed it to two separate locations (the Breakwater and the Harbor Master’s Office) based on possible routes of evacuation from the harbor locale. After the incident, some spectators at Breakwater Park would remark on the lightfootedness of the responding police who ran passed and onto the well-populated landmark course. 

    Due to the length of the attenuation system, Rockland Fire and EMS often call upon the Harbor Master’s Office to drive a boat out and retrieve the patient, reducing the need to carry the patient. This weekend, the Office was not available.

    Instead, a Coast Guard vessel, ready to help, followed the same procedure, pulling up directly to the scene, putting the man onto the sturdy flooring and powering a straight shot across the expanse to the awaiting medical personnel not already on the rocky almost-mile-long outcropping.

    The man was among a group of four people who were swimming from a spot along the Breakwater. When the others realized that something wasn’t right with him, he was pulled onto the rocks.


    This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

    Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com