A man who tried to swim to shore from a boat tethered off Shoreline Drive was rescued Monday afternoon after he floundered about 200 yards offshore, an Alameda Fire Department spokesman said.
Three AFD water rescue swimmers reached the man shortly after 1 p.m. and brought him safely to shore on a water rescue board, AFD Capt. Jim Colburn said. The man, whose identity was not released, was taken by ambulance to Alameda Hospital, Colburn said. The swimmer is expected to recover.
The rescue brought out AFD water rescue teams equipped with a rescue boat, three rescue swimmers from the Alameda Police Department and a helicopter and two boats from the U.S. Coast Guard, Colburn said.
He said the rescue unfolded like this:
At 1:02 p.m. Monday, the AFD received a report of people in the water opposite the 1700 block of Shoreline Drive (at Grand Avenue), including one who was having trouble breathing.
Rescue swimmers reached the group and found one man in distress. Three others in the group were citizens who were trying to help, Colburn said. The man was briefly loaded onto the boat where he had been a passenger, checked by AFD swimmers and then brought to shore on a rescue board, which resembles a giant surfboard.
A woman passenger from the boat had also gone into the water and swam to shore on her own, according to a City of Alameda press release. She was also taken to Alameda Hospital.
Colburn said the AFD had seven rescue swimmers "suited up," with three going into the water and four stationed at water's edge. The three police rescue swimmers were also in the water, he said.
Colburn said this is the most recent of several rescues since the Alameda Fire Department reinstituted its water rescue program last year, following the drowning of a man on Memorial Day, 2011. That incident, where no AFD personnel entered the water to attempt a rescue, led to an independent investigation and a decision by the Alameda City Council to revive the program.
The first group of firefighters to be recertified as rescue swimmers after that incident completed their training in August 2011, and the AFD had two water rescue boats in operation by September 2011, Colburn said.
One rescue boat is housed at Fire Station #1 at 2401 Encinal Ave., the other at Frie Station #2 at 635 Pacific Ave., Colburn said.