A 64-year-old man from Virginia died yesterday after an apparent drowning off West Tisbury in Martha’s Vineyard.
Investigation reveals that Donald Reagan, 64, of Fairfax, Va., was swimming with a friend off West Tisbury when they were caught in a strong rip current. After the friend attempted to save Reagan, the current eventually separated the men. The friend, a 68-year-old Martha’s Vineyard man, was unable to reach Reagan again. The friend swam to shore and called 911. The Coast Guard recovered the victim’s body and transported him to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. He was, sadly, pronounced deceased around 6 p.m. Monday.
At 4:04 p.m. Monday the West Tisbury Police and Tri-Town Fire Rescue and EMS were dispatched to Quansoo Beach in West Tisbury for a report of two male swimmers who had been caught in the rip current. One of the swimmers had been able to eventually exit the water, crawl on the beach to his cell phone and call the Dukes County Regional Emergency 911 Communications Center.
That man reported that he and Reagan were swimming and got caught in a rip current, and that he was unable to save his friend, who had not made it out of the water.
At approximately 4:53 pm, the U.S. Coast Guard recovered Reagan and brought him to shore, where first responders performed CPR. A Coast Guard helicopter transported Reagan from the beach to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased.
Investigation by MSP Trooper Dustin Shaw established that early Monday afternoon Reagan and his friend launched their kayaks in Tisbury Great Pond, located in West Tisbury. After paddling for a while, they beached the kayaks and their personal floatation devices on the beach in the area known as “The Cut,” a large opening in the beach sand that separates the Tisbury Great Pond from the Atlantic Ocean at Quansoo Beach, an area known for high surf and rip currents. The two men then went for a swim in the ocean, and after several minutes a strong east rip current pulled them further away from the shore.
The men fought to extricate themselves from the current and the friend tirelessly attempted to hold onto and help Reagan when the latter began struggling. Unfortunately, the strength of the current eventually separated the men and the friend’s repeated attempts to reach Reagan again were unsuccessful.
The friend was also transported to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.