February 29, 2012

Above all, die safely

41-year-old Simon Burgess was feeding swans in a shallow pond in Walpole Park in Gosport, England last year when he suffered an epileptic seizure and fell unconscious into the water. Twenty-five emergency personnel arrived on scene but Burgess remained floating face down, twenty-five feet from shore, for over half an hour after the first responders arrived.

The Daily Mail reports on the results of the official inquest:

Even though they could all swim, the first fire crew to arrive hadn’t been ‘trained’ to enter water higher than ankle-deep. Instead they waited for ‘specialists’ to arrive to retrieve his body. They had decided Mr Burgess must surely be dead because he had been in the water for ten minutes. When a policeman decided to go in anyway, he was ordered not to. A paramedic was also told not to enter the water because he didn’t have the right ‘protective’ clothing and might be in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

Daily Mail reporter Nick Constable later waded out to the spot and found that "at no point did the depth rise higher than 3½ ft, and at no point did I feel as if I was in the remotest danger."

Posted by EBD at February 29, 2012 7:34 PM

Your local union at work.

Posted by: a@c at February 29, 2012 7:40 PM

Don't endanger yourself even if that means doing
your job.
We should take away the cops guns and body armour.

Posted by: bubz at February 29, 2012 7:42 PM

In ontario some years ago, an OPP officer and a Paramedic from Orillia commandeered a canoe to go and save a man in the water. On the same day the officer was receiving a commendation, the paramedic from Orillia was being called in for a suspension for entering the water in a canoe. Luckily the a local reporter had been told about the suspension and the Ministry of Health back pedalled very quickly. Aholes everywhere.

Posted by: cdw at February 29, 2012 7:42 PM

The benefits of progressive socialist centrist governments are abundantly clear in this story.

Not a trade union member was harmed or placed in jeopardy of losing out on a taxpayer backed and fully indexed pension.

Posted by: Fred at February 29, 2012 7:42 PM

Yes BC has a case (~ 5 years ago) where divers refused to rescue !!! Shit is soft until it comes home. The little freak backed the union (Freak = Suzuki) Sad brain drain

Posted by: Slap Shot at February 29, 2012 7:49 PM

They should all be taken out and shot.

Posted by: marco at February 29, 2012 7:52 PM

A high school aquaintance of my brother, years ago, lost control of his vehicle and wound face up in a creek bed of running water.

About a dozen spectators watched as the individual died, not of injuries sustained in the crash, but from hypothermia.

Trained or not, people are stupid or not caring enough. "Good Samaritan's" must have a bad rap sheet these days.

So why is it that we train 'rescue personnel' these days?


Hans Rupprecht, Commander in Chief

1st Saint Nicolaas Army
Army Group “True North”

Posted by: Hans at February 29, 2012 7:54 PM

Ah ... the results of forty years of the feminization of the western world seeing it's chickens come home to roost.

It is women who screech at the sight of mouse, or a spider or deep water, but they now can screech in a duet with their girly boyfriends.

Posted by: Abe Froman at February 29, 2012 7:55 PM

Did the first "first responders" cling to each other, uttering "Oook! Oook! Oook!" sounds?
Did they then rush en mass to the edge of the water all screaming in a piercing falsetto and
in addition were they frantically waving their very long arms about in great distress and concern?
This was followed by a panicked retreat back to the start point to cling together again?

I may be able to offer an explanation ...........

Posted by: Sgt Lejaune at February 29, 2012 8:02 PM

I read something earlier on this and a supervisor that was questioned 'thought the people onsite made the right call' it immediately made me think of everyone interviewed regarding the Sansone's ordeal. They too thought that 'caution had been exercised'

Make me puke. They ought to start arresting the supervisors, maybe everyone involved in travesty's such as this, but I doubt anyone would take the hint.

Isn't the government 'us'. Aren't our services (teachers, police, etc.) picked from among us to serve us? (don't bother answering my, largely, rhetorical question)

Posted by: Derek at February 29, 2012 8:04 PM

Almost as disturbing as the non-rescue by the "professional" rescuers is the fact that _someone_ must have witnessed the event, in order to call in the emergency . . . yet he/she/they did not intervene directly to pull a man floating 25 feet from shore, in a shallow pond, to safety. Good grief, I know centenarians who could have--and probably _would_ have--done it, had they been present at the scene.

Are today's British really the descendants of the men who beat back the Armada, charged with the Light Brigade, and won the Battle of Britain? Well, biologically maybe. . . .

Posted by: Carlos Perera at February 29, 2012 8:07 PM

Mike Rowe speaks about jobs, and a person's responsibility to take care of themselves, among other interesting anecdotes.

If you can't watch the whole thing go to 13:40 and it says it all.

Posted by: Dwayne at February 29, 2012 8:08 PM

What's the point other than to employ those who would watch you die rather than risk their jobs?
Fire them all.

Posted by: richfisher at February 29, 2012 8:11 PM

@Carlos, the woman who called 999 was in her 60s with a 2 year old girl (her granddaughter) from what I recall. The firemen arrived within 5 mins. Not sure about other folks standing around, the story is sadly quiet on that point.

Posted by: Dwayne at February 29, 2012 8:11 PM

A lot of this moron behavior comes from the schools I believe.....3am in the morning a person 18-20 pushed the button to cross the road....the road was flat for at least 3/4 of a mile in each direction...because they where told this would protect them...yet at the lights...when the walk lamp come on they just step out;looking straight ahead...thats how one got it in Toronto....hit the button and kept right on running...for a little bit...////

Posted by: Ken E. at February 29, 2012 8:13 PM

I remember something like this happened last year a few yards off Alameda Island. The guy was suicidal and drown himself. As you can imagine, that took a while.
Finally a bystander couldn't tolerate the inaction of the city employees (I won't call them what they're not), waded out and hauled the poor sob onto the beach himself.

Posted by: wingwalker at February 29, 2012 8:15 PM

Sounds like calling 911 for people who collapse in or just outside of hospitals. How many of these cases have I heard about? I bet police wonder why nobody cooperates with them.

Posted by: Scar at February 29, 2012 8:16 PM

In 1975 I was stationed in Williams Lake as an RCMP Cst. I was patrolling along the lake with an aux-cst when we spotted a man in the water who had capsized his canoe. The auxilliary lived right there on the lake and had a boat tied up to a dock, in the water. We were on the water and had the poor fellow rescued within 10 minutes. I got reprimanded for not calling for and waiting for the detachment police boat. It was on a trailer in a locked compound and would have been 30-45 minutes to get it in the water, at the far end of the lake. The guy would have died as he was getting pretty hypothermic when we got him.
So this kind of silliness is not new.

mid island mike

Posted by: mike at February 29, 2012 8:29 PM

THIS is what "Slap Shot" was referring to. A bloody Canadian disgrace of the same nature as this post

Posted by: dmorris at February 29, 2012 8:33 PM
Where was this guy?

Posted by: scott at February 29, 2012 8:33 PM

Too many safety meetings! Replace them all with well trained dogs. They are always loyal, not politically correct, anti-union, work for low wages and usually practice common sense.

Posted by: John Chittick at February 29, 2012 8:39 PM

The joys of living in Progville. How is it we keep electing progressive idiots? Doesn't that make us all responsible for the pathetic state of our society?

Posted by: markon at February 29, 2012 8:45 PM

Poor pathetic ball-less limeys. Poor pathetic little thingies. Can we perhaps declassify them from the human race?

Posted by: John Lewis at February 29, 2012 8:47 PM

But the water was probably cold...

Posted by: canuck66 at February 29, 2012 8:54 PM

The whole point is that burrocrats appear to their job, merely by being there. Anyone who thinks burrocrats do their job is dreaming in technicolour. The purpose of burrocrats is to justify their supervisors jobs, the purpose of their supervisors is to justify their managers jobs and so on. Twentyfive useless burrocrats justified their salaries by being there.

Posted by: oldfart at February 29, 2012 8:59 PM

"Are today's British really the descendants of the men who beat back the Armada, charged with the Light Brigade, and won the Battle of Britain? Well, biologically maybe. . . ."

No, they all emigrated to here and the US. Those who are there now are mostly not from around those parts...

We have our own horror story here, about an ambulance that sat a block away on a heart attack call for 45 min, because maybe somebody heard there may be a violent man somewhere.... The victim died while ambulance idled. Neither paramedic had more than a year's experience - one was on her first or second call I believe...

Posted by: Skip at February 29, 2012 9:07 PM

From the comments at the article:

do you know how much trouble they would have got in if they did this though? just saying. you dont know what its like to work for the emergency services so i think its unfair to judge. i think its awful that they did just stand there but compeltly understand the reasons why they did this. however 'un-british' this may seem.........

- other, side, uk, 26/2/2012 12:45

Posted by: Skip at February 29, 2012 9:10 PM

Apparently it hasn't dawned on some Brits, that, if your emergency service workers won't attend the emergency, perhaps you don't actually have an emergency service...

Posted by: Skip at February 29, 2012 9:13 PM

A non unionized citizen, not in the employ of any level of government, could have walked into the pool of water, turned Simon Burgess over and pulled him to shore, where he may have been ticketed for illegally entering a pool.

That this happened in full view of government employees when they could have stopped it, is sick.

Posted by: marc in calgary at February 29, 2012 9:14 PM

Big Nanny state government in action. Don't think for yourselves, let the government think for you.

Posted by: northernont at February 29, 2012 9:21 PM

Abe - buffalo bagels. Don't blame women's lib or whatever for the wussification of males. They've done it to themselves.

Any man or woman in our household would have tried to help in such a situation. A woman at the scene did call 999 - we don't know if she was in any shape to attempt a rescue, but she did have a toddler in tow which would have complicated things - as in rescue the man but see your grandson disappear under the water.

Posted by: Frances at February 29, 2012 9:21 PM

I recall one night, during the early bombing of Desert Storm....

CF17's were patrolling between the fleet and Iraq, Mig-Cap it's called.

The surface radar spotted what appeared to be Iraqui FAC (fast attack craft) in bound. The CF18's equiped for air-to-air engaged and damaged/drove off the intruders.

When the CF18s returned to base, their crews got a reaming, from the base CO, for engaging in action for which they were neither equiped nor had orders for.....

I have direct then current employer....had me deliver a coupla boxes of USN beer to the Canadian airbase for the CF18 aircrew.....and with written orders signed by a 2 star.

Posted by: sasquatch at February 29, 2012 9:21 PM

Blame the lawyers, the unions, and the bloody bureuacrats.

Everyone's worried about litigation. "What if I grab the guy and bruise him or break his arm, because to get a grip, I need to grab him quickly and hard? Will he sue me when we get to shore?"

I'm not exonerating the idiots who stood by and watched -- what's the point in being a first-responder if you can't respond? But, I'll bet they, their union, and their department are terrified of being sued.

Posted by: batb at February 29, 2012 9:27 PM

Sad to see for sure.

Ontario can't be far behind.

The silence has been deafening at our health and safety meetings the last decade or so being fed the kool aid. Although some lads are now starting to speak up.

And at this years meeting we are having a health officer speak can't wait to see if they have a uniform and a gun.

Remember dot your i's and cross your t's the accident can still happen but your safe.... conform and you'll be fine.

Posted by: Mugs at February 29, 2012 9:36 PM

Thanks for that, Scott (8:33 P.M). I remember seeing Skutnik interviewed shortly afterwards: he said that it would have been harder for him to watch the woman going under in the icy water than it was to jump in to save her.

A true hero, to be sure.

Posted by: EBD at February 29, 2012 9:42 PM

I blame Trudeau...or Tommy Douglas.

Posted by: phil at February 29, 2012 9:52 PM

Skutnik being a hero was only part of the story in my opinion EBD, notice the numerous emergency personnel standing on the shore spectating...

Posted by: scott at February 29, 2012 9:54 PM

Ahhh, the good ol days, when men were men. Seems like the Hunter gatherers have finally been neutered by the nanny state education system. Going into water past your ankles is now a life and death decision. The workers compensation board is already applauding the decision that may have averted a serious breach of protocol and perhaps even generated a punishing fine. To think there are still some who think social engineering should be stopped. Here we have proof that is is working exactly as intended.

Posted by: peterj at February 29, 2012 10:09 PM

Kind of explains why our manly military leaders - not the soldiers - are apologizing over some burnt books.

Posted by: Ford Prefect at February 29, 2012 10:17 PM

Now, if it had been a dog...twenty people would have waded in..

Posted by: gellen at February 29, 2012 10:25 PM

It's not like anyone was asking them to leap over a chasm of fire.

Posted by: Osumashi Kinyobe at February 29, 2012 10:33 PM

Codified cowardice.
This is a Unionized diversified out fit. Its all show no go. Always ready to find ways not to do a job.

Posted by: Revnant Dream at February 29, 2012 10:58 PM

Too true, gellen (10:25).

Posted by: EBD at February 29, 2012 11:18 PM

First rule of safety:



Hans Rupprecht, Commander in Chief

1st Saint Nicolaas Army
Army Group “True North”

Posted by: Hans at February 29, 2012 11:18 PM

The safety professionals know just how dangerous water is. Next time a 4 year old draws a picture of a pool or hot tub, child services and the police will be out in full force.

Posted by: WalterF at February 29, 2012 11:20 PM

What batb @ 9:27 and peterj @ 10:09 said.

And to think some of us think we will win the next war. Not this way we won't.

Posted by: Ken (Kulak) at February 29, 2012 11:21 PM

I am unable, EBD, to be outraged by our English brethren in this case, only saddened. We have our own parallel situations here in Canada as several above me have detailed. In the Sansone case last week, three cops showed up at the school to handcuff him. He was strip searched at the police station for "officer safety".

We hire people to perform sometimes difficult and dangerous activities on our behalf and the people we send to represent us at councils, legislatures and parliaments allow lawyers, bureaucrats and unions to cripple them with rules that directly contradict the reason we hired them - often participating directly in the crippling.

I hope we are all asking those representatives why they have allowed that to happen.

Posted by: BJG at February 29, 2012 11:36 PM

And to think, just 100 short years ago, that country ruled an empire upon which the sun never set.

Posted by: Richard Saunders at March 1, 2012 12:26 AM

Two thoughts come to mind.
First of all, all govt workers are bureaucrats. And all bureaucrats are lazy ,good for nothing, union slots.

Secondly, firemen aren't the heros they would have us believe they are.

Posted by: Horny Toad at March 1, 2012 12:30 AM

I suppose the first responders need to get there fast to set up tents, get caterers, etc.

Posted by: ∞² at March 1, 2012 12:50 AM

Just so hard to believe what a gong show they turned it into , to not rescue someone in 3 ft of water. They had'nt been "trained" to enter water higher than their ankles. Never had a bath I guess. The sun has truly set on the British Empire.

Posted by: peterj at March 1, 2012 2:28 AM

PeterJ - or to extend a bit, do these "emergency" personel never go swimming at a public pool? I think most pools are 3ft deep at a minimum.

All of those cowards should have to stand up at a press conference or something similar and state unequivocally that they believe with all their heart that letting the man die was the right thing to do. They should also state that since being hired to the emergency services they have never entered water deeper than what their training has allowed regardless of whether they were on or off duty.

I also found it funny that given a very rough idea of the time the victim was in the water they were able to make a snap decision that he was already dead. When I took first aid training the line was always "you can not assess death unless the head is separated from the body".

No mention in the story if they would have prevented/arrested a civilian for trying to get to the man, but I bet they would have.

Posted by: MC at March 1, 2012 7:22 AM

Wrong again Peter Singer.

Posted by: Paulie at March 1, 2012 9:26 AM

MC- but the civilian could simply flee through the pond, where the cops can't go. (standing in knee deep water) "come get me then!" Cops - "curses, foiled again. Call the navy."

Posted by: Paulie at March 1, 2012 9:33 AM

Just a thought...if you're gonna commit suicide, take a lawyer with you.

Okay, I said what?

Posted by: eastern paul at March 1, 2012 2:22 PM

Not the plot for the next Dirty Harry movie, that.

Posted by: Black Mamba at March 1, 2012 3:28 PM

England is truly f--ked.

Posted by: Zog at March 1, 2012 9:08 PM

"About a dozen spectators watched as the individual died, not of injuries sustained in the crash, but from hypothermia.

Trained or not, people are stupid or not caring enough. "Good Samaritan's" must have a bad rap sheet these days."

2 things:
- good samaritans are liable to get sued if things go wrong during or after their attempts
- good samaritans have been faced with paying the medical bills of those they saved when the patient turned out to have no insurance

It's got to the point where volunteer first aid training now includes warnings to do nothing more serious than apply a bandaid and call an ambulance, to avoid liability issues.

Posted by: JTW at March 2, 2012 7:43 AM