first_img“I have no idea what made me look to the side,” Bill said, but the 36 year old Marmora resident, who served on the Beach Patrol for several summers in the 1990s knew something wasn’t right.Without saying one word to Becky, he exited a side door and handed his phone and wallet to an unidentified bystander who was standing outside the auditorium along the pier’s railing.“The lady said she would watch my stuff and I just assessed the situation and took off.” Other officers were on the rock jetty attempting to reach the swimmers with flotation cans.Ocean City Police Captain Steve Ang identified “Class II Officer Abraham, as the member of the department who entered the water to play a major role in the rescue.Bill Jenkins vaulted over the side of the pier and rushed into the surf, swimming out to reach the youngster, grabbing the boy and steadying him. Meanwhile Officer Abraham had plucked two other bathers from the surf and headed toward Jenkins and the boy.“I told the officer I had (the boy secured) and to swim back in. I could see surf rescue was on the scene and would be out momentarily.”“There was no verbal communication between us,” Jenkins said.  “He relaxed and became a lot more calm as I held him and rubbed his belly.”Jenkins, who had broken his elbow in an accident less than a month before, managed to hold the boy’s head above the water line while the tide pounded him into the rocks. He suffered several cuts and scrapes to both legs and one of his arms as he shielded the youngster from the rocks.Charlie Bowman, also an OCBP Alum and an OCFD Deputy Chief, followed Bill Jenkins out of the concert and ran down to the beach to assist.He said that the first rescue team arrived less than two minutes following the 9-1-1 call. It was headed by Bowman’s brother Bill, also an OCFD Deputy Chief.  Charlie Bowman said Ryan Clark, a member of the Rescue B unit, was the first to paddle out and reach Jenkins and the would-be victim.  Tim Young, also of Rescue B, entered the surf and paddled a rescue board out to assist.Jenkins handed the boy over to Clark, who transported him to shore. Jenkins swam around the jetty to the south side of the rocks and finally exited the water.“The take away from this incident is to respect the ocean and to only swim on guarded beaches,” Jenkins said. The waves might be nonexistent and the ocean might seem clam he said, but that does not necessarily mean the rip currents and undertow won’t be present.According to the OCFD, the boy’s parents witnessed everything from the beach. Their son was evaluated on-scene by Ocean City Emergency Management Services and taken to Shore Medical Center as a precaution.  “He was shaken, but he was OK,” a Fire Department source said.With the operation carried out successfully, there was nothing more for Jenkins to do but return to the Music Pier and watch the rest of the Hooters concert, he said.“I just did what most people would have done in that situation (with the proper training), Jenkins said.“I knew rescue was on the way but that I could get out there sooner than they could. And I knew that the boy was struggling and the whole situation could have gotten ugly very quickly.  We could’ve had a very different conversation today.”One of the bystanders bought Bill a T-Shirt from a vendor so that he would have a dry garment to put on. However, Bill said his clothes had begun air drying at that point, so he just kept them on for the rest of the show.“I did get a nice Hooter’s T-shirt as a souvenir,” he said. The night started out care-free enough. Just good friends going out to enjoy the Hooters Concert at the Music Pier. By Tim Kelly“That’s why we were here tonight,” Becky Jenkins said from her vantage point on the 9th Street Beach.It’s often said that in life, things happen for a reason.On Tuesday night, the “reason” was to save the life of a young boy.The “thing” was Becky’s attendance with husband Bill at a concert at the Ocean City Music Pier. It continued with Bill’s noticing something wasn’t right on the beach, bolting from the show, vaulting the railing of the pier, dropping to the sand 10 feet below, sprinting into the surf and swimming out to rescue the boy.The would-be victim had been carried out to deep water by the rip current and kept in place by a strong undertow. The boy clung precariously to his boogie board as the current pulled him close to the rock jetty.  Jenkins reached him and held the boy’s head above water until the surf rescue unit arrived.Then, dripping wet, he returned to the concert, featuring Philadelphia 1980s music legends The Hooters.“Honestly I didn’t remember The Hooters,” said Bill. “When I heard some of their songs I remembered them.  They’re good.”The decision to take in the show with Becky and a group of friends including Charlie and Jennifer Bowman, was mostly last minute, Becky said.“Our date nights don’t always work out,” said Becky who tried five different potential babysitters without success until the Bowmans’ daughter Kelsea became available to watch Billy and Mackenzie. Bill made it back to Ocean City from his job as Director of Marine Services at Hudson Engineering in the Cherry Hill area in time and the friends rode to the show on bikes from the Bowman’s house.The concert started around 7:30 p.m. and was in full swing when Bill who was seated near the end of Row P opposite the left side of the stage, saw something out of the corner of his eye. It was a police officer sprinting on the beach toward the water’s edge.Official details of the incident were still sketchy on Wednesday night. Police reports were not immediately available. However, according to the Ocean City Fire Department’s dispatch report, a 9-1-1 call came in at 8:15 p.m. stating that swimmers were in distress on the 9th St. beach.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *