A police and fire department policy has been changed after a San Francisco-area man committed suicide by wading into the bay and drowning, all while first responders stood by for an hour and watched.
Rescuers in Alameda, CA cited budget cuts and policy for not rescuing the man earlier this week.
"(The) Alameda Fire Department does not currently have, and is not certified, in land-based water rescues. The city of Alameda primarily relies on the United States Coast Guard for these types of events," a police spokesperson told NBCBayArea.com.
The Coast Guard tried to respond, but the water was too shallow for them to stage a rescue. That created an almost unbelievable scene, said witnesses:
That means not one certified person did anything. That is until one off-duty nurse swam 50 yards to recover the man's lifeless body. But her efforts were all for naught. The man was later declared dead.
The policy forbidding such rescues has now been reversed after local outcry and a public hearing:
"It just strikes me as unbelievably callous that nobody there with any sort of training couldn't strip off their gear, go in the water, and help this person," one man said during the meeting.