Nicole Farley

Boca Raton Lifeguards Dispute Rescue, But Aren’t Providing Public Records

Boca Raton Florida News Palm Beach County

City Of Boca Raton Yet To Release Incident Report After FAU Student, Not Paid Lifeguards, Saves Drowning Man.

Chief Lifeguard Leaves Voicemail Seeking “Retraction Or Redaction.” Our Response: NO.

Nicole Farley
Hero Nicole Farley, an FAU Dental Student, rescued a man on Sunday. The City of Boca Raton disputes claims that its lifeguards were “oblivious,” but has not provided an incident report days after being requested.

BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — We reported exclusively Sunday afternoon on the heroic rescue effectuated by an FAU Junior who saw a man drowning in the ocean near South Beach Pavilion, darted into the deep water, and saved him.

Nicole Farley, a swimming pool lifeguard without ocean rescue training, is the 19-year-old who multiple witnesses confirmed saved the man from death. By all accounts, she is a hero.

But the City of Boca Raton’s Lifeguard Chief, Clint Tracy, took issue with the claims from several witnesses that his lifeguards were “oblivious” to a little girl screaming for help and several adults waving their arms to get attention. That’s when Farley decided to take action herself — thrusting her 5’1” body into water much deeper than 5’1” to save the man facing death.

Boca Raton FAU Rescue
Rescuers working on the victim on shore.

After our report was first published, Lifeguard Chief Tracy left voicemail for BocaNewsNow.com asking for a “retraction” or “redaction.” We didn’t return the call, instead reaching out to our contacts in the City’s communications department. While thanking Nicole Farley for saving the man, the City disputed the claim that lifeguards never entered the water to assist her deep water rescue. The City of Boca Raton issued this statement:

“After speaking with staff and reviewing the incident report, we commend Ms. Farley for her efforts on March 19, 2022. Her proximity to the gentleman in distress, along with her quick reaction and skillsets allowed her to immediately help a person in need as our staff was responding to the incident. Thankfully, it was a successful rescue.

In saying this, I would like to provide some clarification to the incident. As reported to our Fire Rescue Captain, Ms. Farley was near the older gentleman when she saw him face down in the water. Ms. Farley acted quickly and approached the man, turned him over and floated him toward the shore. One of our female lifeguards met Ms. Farley in the water and with the help of a few bystanders, pulled the gentleman closer to the shoreline where she was met by another lifeguard and was able to position him on the shore to be evaluated and complete the rescue.”

In a follow-up interview on Tuesday, we shared the City’s statement with Nicole Farley who we again asked to explain the role of Boca Raton lifeguards. Farley stated that lifeguards were on the beach, but didn’t take over the rescue until she brought the man to shore. That’s when he was administered oxygen before Boca Raton Fire Rescue paramedics transported him to a hospital. At no time, said Farley, did the paid City of Boca Raton lifeguards help her in the water deeper than she is tall.

“I pulled him diagonally to shore,” said Farley, explaining how she battled the strong current. “That’s where the lifeguards were.”

BocaNewsNow.com requested the official incident report on Wednesday. It is now Friday and we do not have it. It is unclear why the City of Boca Raton — which cited its own incident report while disputing witness claims — isn’t immediately releasing the report.

Boca Raton Fire Batallion Chief and Spokesperson Jason Stout would only confirm to BocaNewsNow.com that a water rescue incident occurred. He refused to provide information about the victim or his condition when transported from the scene. The lack of information is notable: other area rescue agencies routinely report basic patient conditions and a synopsis of what happened, especially when it shows the good work of a municipal employee. It is unclear if the lack of statement, and claims that City lifeguards were “oblivious” to calls for help, are related.

Nicole Farley, who plans to become a Dentist, says she has been overwhelmed by support and gratitude not just from witnesses, but the victim’s family.

LOCAL JOURNALISM SUPPORTER.

Paul Saperstein

 

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