East Hampton Lifeguards ‘Saved Him From Becoming Paralyzed’

Those taking part in an ocean rescue at Georgica Beach in August were recognized at the East Hampton Village Board's work session on Thursday. From left, Francis Mott, East Hampton Village's beach manager; Ethan Dayton, a former lifeguard; Dana Dragone, a lifeguard, and Richard Lawler of the board took part in a ceremony in which Mr. Lawler read a proclamation recognizing the quick action of five rescuers. Christopher Walsh photos

Four East Hampton Village lifeguards and a former lifeguard were recognized for their role in an ocean rescue at the village board's work session on Thursday morning.

On Aug. 19 at Georgica Beach, a lifeguard spotted a swimmer in distress, said Richard Lawler, a member of the board and the village's police commissioner. The bather had been slammed to the ocean bottom by a large wave and could not get to his feet.

Dana Dragone, Zach Bogetti, Harrison Kennedy, and Andrew Wilson, the lifeguards, and Ethan Dayton, a former lifeguard who was on the scene, "immediately jumped into action" and rescued him, Mr. Lawler said. Believing the bather may have suffered a serious head or neck injury, the rescuers followed protocol, stabilizing him on his own boogie board. He was brought to the beach and an ambulance was called.

The swimmer was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he underwent five hours of emergency surgery. "The doctors there believe that the action of our lifeguards possibly saved his life," Mr. Lawler said, "and certainly saved him from becoming paralyzed for life."

"Please let your team know they saved my friend's life," the swimmer's friend wrote to Francis Mott, the village's beach manager.

Mr. Lawler read a proclamation to publicly recognize the lifeguards and Mr. Dayton's "dedication and efficient service."

Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. told the assembled that, "The village is proud of how they conducted themselves."



Ethan Dayton and Dana Dragone, third and fourth from left, were recognized by the East Hampton Village Board on Thursday. They were among five current or former village lifeguards to rescue a swimmer in distress at Georgica Beach in August.