Surfer, Off-Duty Dispatcher Rescue Unresponsive Man From Water At Cisco Beach

David Creed and Jason Graziadei •

Hazlegrove 3971
Cisco Beach. Photo by Cary Hazlegrove |

A 25-year-old man was pulled out of the surf at Cisco Beach unresponsive Monday afternoon and was administered CPR before being rushed to Nantucket Cottage Hospital. It is believed the victim later regained consciousness but was subsequently transported by Medflight to a mainland hospital. 

A young surfer - Wynter Larrabee - and Era Kever, an off-duty Nantucket Police Department dispatcher, are being credited with lifesaving efforts during the incident, along with island lifeguards and EMTs. 

Nantucket Harbormaster Sheila Lucey described it as "the largest and most on-water significant rescue of the season.”

Larrabee was at Cisco Beach Monday afternoon talking to his parents when he noticed the man in the shore break and thought his movements were a little off. Larrabee, a 14-year-old surfer already competing on the international stage, quickly ran into the water to check on him.

“I saw him in the water and I thought he was drowning,” Larrabee told the Current. “But I noticed he just wasn’t moving right. Something just seemed off. I jumped into the water but I didn’t really know what had happened to him or if he had a seizure or something so I just tried to get him out of the water as soon as possible.”

Larrabee said he knew something was wrong when he noticed a woman, who turned out to be the man’s wife, panicking as she ran along the shoreline. He said she ran over as soon as he entered the water.  

Wynter Larrabee, 14, and others' quick actions Monday afternoon appear to have saved a young man's life who was drowning at Cisco Beach.

Larrabee quickly called for nearby beachgoers to assist him with getting the man to shore. The man was not on his board, was floating face-up in the water, and twitching. Larrabee needed to act quickly once he reached the individual and began to carry the man by himself. Eventually, two others, including his father Rich, were able to help.

Most of Nantucket's lifeguards had already left for the season, and none were stationed at Cisco on Monday. Those that remained were at Nobadeer dealing with a 13-year-old boy who had fainted due to heat exhaustion when the call came in from Cisco. The lifeguards immediately started driving west on ATVs. 

Meanwhile at the beach, Larrabee and his father made it back to shore with the unresponsive man and yelled for someone to call 911. Kever, the off-duty Nantucket Police Department dispatcher, responded immediately to administer CPR and chest compressions. 

"She (Kever) saved that man's life," said Fabrizia Lu Macchiavelli, who was at Cisco and witnessed the rescue. "She worked on him by herself for so long - she was truly a hero."

Kever told the Current that she didn’t see what was happening until Larrabee and others brought the man up onto the beach.

“The whole thing was insane, it happened so fast,” Kever said. “All we saw was people gathering around something on the shore and some panic. We realized someone was in trouble. I looked at him, he was unconscious and unresponsive. They were saying he didn’t have a pulse.”

Kever, who is trained and certified in CPR through her position as a public safety dispatcher, sometimes has to instruct people how to administer CPR over the phone. But she had never been in a situation like this.

“I started compressions right away and just kept going,” Kever said. “I gave him some breaths, maybe three times, and it made it appear as if he was breathing but he wasn’t.”

Kever continued until lifeguards and EMTs arrived, who used a defibrillator on the man before taking him into an ambulance. One of the lifeguards, Kever said, approached her afterwards and told her “he’s going to be alright.”

Lifeguards and Nantucket Fire Department EMTs soon arrived at Cisco Beach as well. It was reported over emergency radio communications the man had a pulse as EMTs were providing medical care. 

“We were called for CPR in progress at Cisco Beach just before 3 p.m.,” Nantucket Fire Chief Michael Cranson said. “A young adult male was found unconscious in the water at Cisco Beach. Bystanders pulled him from the water and immediately began CPR along with lifeguard staff. Fire department personnel arrived and continued lifesaving measures and transported him to Nantucket Cottage Hospital. We do not know the circumstances surrounding the incident and I do not have an update on his condition at this time. Fire Department, lifeguards, and civilians all worked together to assist the victim. We thank everyone involved for their efforts.”

The man was being MedFlighted to Boston this evening. A source told the Current that the man was responsive in the emergency room and his wife was allowed inside to see him. She was also permitted to fly with him to Boston where he is going to undergo further tests.

On Tuesday, the Egan Maritime Institute and Nantucket Cottage Hospital announced that Larrabee and Kever had been added to the group of people who will receive the Maurice E. Gibbs Commendation Award during the upcoming Nantucket Lifesavers Recognition Day on Sept. 11th. 

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