On Sunday, July 20, 2014, First Assistant Chief EMT Joel Melamed and his son, firefighter Andrew of the Albertson Fire Company, were off duty and relaxing on a boat in the Great South Bay off of Long Island.
A mayday call for assistance came over the marine radio stating that a jet skier had collided with a boat in the Lindenhurst Channel and was unconscious in the water.
Joel and his family looked over and observed a 45-year-old male face down in the water and another jet skier attempting to assist approximately 300 yards away. Joel and Andrew immediately drove to the scene and dove into the water.
After pulling the injured jet skier onto another boat that had stopped to help, they quickly determined that the victim had severe head trauma and multiple lacerations. He was unconscious, not breathing and in cardiac arrest.
The Melameds began administering CPR immediately. Due to the narrowness of the swim platform where the victim was lying, it was necessary to tie him to the platform with rope so that he wouldn’t fall into the water or boat propellers.
While the owner of the boat raced toward shore, Joel and Andrew performed CPR on the victim, who was just inches away from the boat’s spinning propellers. They had to maintain their own balance on the platform while doing the work.
After approximately 10 minutes, the U.S. Coast Guard met the boat on the water and the victim was transferred. The Melameds continued CPR on the Coast Guard boat for another 10 minutes, while rolling the patient to remove water from his lungs.
Upon arrival at the dock, the victim had regained a faint pulse and breathing. The victim was transferred to a waiting ambulance and transported by the West Babylon Volunteer Fire Department to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip in critical condition.
After approximately two weeks in the hospital, the victim was released. Joel and Andrew displayed outstanding courage, perseverance and disregard for their own personal safety in performing this water rescue and medical save without the aid of protective gear on a moving boat.