(Editor’s note: This story was updated on Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 8:20 a.m.)
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man is dead after drowning in the water off Beach 84th Street in Queens.
First responders received a call just before 3 p.m. Friday about three men in distress in the water.
The NYPD said the three men, all in their 20s, got caught in a rip current.
Two of them were able to make it out OK, but a third man, a 24-year-old Fidel Ramirez of Brooklyn, was swept under the water.
Eventually, first responders did reach him. He was rushed to the hospital, but he did not survive.
The victim went into the water along Beach 84th Street, but he was pulled out along Beach 91st Street.
Beach-goers say this drowning was particularly difficult because it’s an ominous foreshadowing for what could be a dangerous summer.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said there will be no lifeguards on duty at city beaches.
Traditionally, they begin the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
“People are not supposed to go to the beach to swim. There’s not going to be anything with group activity. No sports, no volleyball,” the mayor said.
Locals who spoke to CBS2’s Christina Fan say the decision not to staff lifeguards is misinformed.
“I feel people just aren’t aware to the degree that they should be of the dangers of the ocean,” said Catherine Davis, of Rockaway Beach.
“The lifeguards should be still there in case somebody needs help because even losing one person is very sad,” one woman said.
The mayor’s office called the drowning “a tragedy,” saying, “We urge all New Yorkers to stay out of the water.”
I need every New Yorker to heed the warning: there’s NO swimming on our beaches during this crisis. It is NOT safe.
We don’t want want to fence off the beaches but we will if we have to.
We’ll have extra Parks and NYPD walking the beaches this weekend to keep New Yorkers safe. https://t.co/hd5JixxcTD
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 22, 2020
But Assembly District Leader Lew Simon says the order may be difficult to follow because of the city’s confusing beach rules.
One sign near Beach 94th Street, for example, incorrectly says lifeguards will still be on duty.
“To see this sign here is utterly ridiculous,” Simon said. “It’s also confusing that you can surf and you can’t swim. It’s also confusing that they say the state beaches are open, and they don’t realize this is a city beach.”
The parks department says they will have new corrected signage on display on beaches throughout the city for Memorial Day weekend. There will also be additional officers on patrol to help protect New Yorkers and remind them not to swim.