I had a wonderful day (Saturday August 15 2009) at the Halifax International Buskers Festival.
It had been a very hot and humid day. I was exhausted. So I decided to go home early.
I walked over to the ferry terminal and went in. It was about 8:00 pm. I asked “When is the next ferry leaving?
I was told 45 minutes. I thought that to be really unusual, as the ferry runs every 30 minutes or 15 minutes.
So I decide to go wait outside where it was cooler. I stepped out and went left. I sat just above the floating dock where Theodore II docks. It was not docked at this time.
In front of me at Chebucto Landing is a circular loop (road). The road was blocked off as the loop area was being used for buskers performances.
The ‘Bike Boy” act was just starting to set up.
So I started a conversation with the man beside me to pass the time and be friendly. I was telling him about my photo series I did of the buskers. I gave him my business card with my websites webshots.com/user/towsey (link is dead) where my buskers series can be viewed and now you can also look in the NEWS folder for the drowning victim photos. And be sure to view my images of beautiful Nova Scotia at danieltowsey.photoshop.com (link is dead)
PLEASE read the e-mail I received from him below..I removed his identity for now…
About ten minutes later two very upset women walked in front of me and were talking to a very relaxed and slow walking police officer.
I thought that to be very odd as the women were very upset about something very serious and were trying to get the officer to take them seriously.
So me being a Folk Photographer, I continued to watch them and observed them walk down the ramp to the Theodore II tugboat’s floating dock which was right under me. I was sitting on the edge of the upper dock.
I could hear the women telling this officer there is a man and a woman in the water and that the woman was swimming under the elevated ferry terminal.
The women kept repeating and the officer still did not react.
He only reacted when the women screamed out “There she is”
So now there was allot of witnesses watching as the women were loud and there was hundreds of Buskers viewers up above. The splashing water got everyone’s attention.
At about this time the ‘Bike Boy” busker had turned on his very loud music for his act.
The woman (Hero) in the water had only popped up for air and went back down. I saw the woman and saw that she was swimming between the huge black steel pillars. She was swimming in a grid pattern. She appeared to be wearing a dress as I could see what appeared to be bare legs every time she dived back in.
[Later when I looked at my series of images. I realized she was wearing very thin white pants that were see through when wet.]
I immediately took my camera out,took a picture to check the lighting conditions and realized I could not take pictures of the woman while she was under the ferry terminal as it was to dark.
But I could clearly see her pop up and back down. She completed her in and out search and then changed her direction to go parallel with the shore. She started at the outer most pillars.
When she was on her last grid she popped up where she was not under the ferry terminal and went back in.
To my shock she popped up with the man and was swimming backwards with her arm under his chin. I took a picture of this. The picture can only be viewed on a Computer LCD screen as it is very poorly lit. It can not make a good print.
I saw that the man had gray hair like mine and it appeared that the woman also had some gray hair.
The mans look, size and description was identical to me. I later found out he was also 52 years of age. And it has been reported that his name was also Dan (MacDonald)
Meanwhile no one ever jumped in the water to assist this woman and man.
I estimated that fifteen minutes had now passed since the women had started walking from the other side of the ferry terminal with the slow moving officer.
I realized that the man had been submerged way to long to have any chance of survival. As I know that the first ten minutes are crucial.
The police officer did not immediately bend down to help the women pull the man up. The woman was pushing the man up and got him partially on the dock. The dock at this point was flush with the water because of the peoples weight on it.
Its at this point that the officer pulled the man the rest of the way up. And then and only then did I see the officer grab his radio microphone hanging on his belt and speak into it.
Two minutes later I heard sirens. Five minutes later paramedics were attending to the victim. And a minute later a rescue boat also arrived.
Also I did not see anyone help this exhausted woman out of the water.
Meanwhile the officer is just standing there over the man and just staring down at him.
Now the rescuer woman was standing up and had a discussed look on her face as she looked at the officer. She then aggressively pushed the officer out of the way.
She bent down and tilted the victims head back and gave him air. Then she put her hands together like a fist and began pushing up and down on the man chest.
At this point the blue tinge to the mans skin turned to white.
Now the paramedics were there.
The rescuer (Hero) woman decided to leave. The officer screamed for someone to get her name.
All during this time I and others are taking pictures.
The original officer started to scream with a rude tone at the hundreds of people above that were watching. Telling everyone to get out of the way that the fire-truck was being blocked by them.
I and everyone else thought this to be really odd as the fire truck was on the other side, and the ramp to the floating dock was also on the other end.
All the people did not immediately react as it was almost impossible for people to move, for there were to many people and no place to move to. Eventually people moved away from the docks edge. I also moved.
Then I hear another officer, who is standing near the ferry terminal entrance screaming even more violently at the huge crowd. The officer never once gave instructions to the crowd as to where he wanted them to move to.
I then saw why. The ambulance had been dispatched to the other side of the ferry terminal. It was driving very slowly on the narrow sidewalk filled with hundreds of people that had no room to move out of the way as there is a wall on both sides of the passage way in front of the ferry terminal.
The harbour-front was filled with thousands of people and the officers screaming only made the crowd bigger as more people came to see what the whole commotion is.
The ambulance came out and went out towards the main street and then began to reverse. But the way was blocked by a really huge dense crowd.
This occurred because the officer in front of the ferry terminal continued to scream at the crowd to move. So the crowd moved away from the officer and went to the other side of the looped road.
Which is where the ambulance needed to be.
The ambulance and fire-truck stayed where they were for at least ten more minutes because they could not get past the crowd.
I think the paramedics which you can see in my pictures came from the fire-truck.
While I was on the road. I took some pictures over the crowd towards the ambulance and fire-truck..
Please note that I had to artificially lighten images where I did not use a flash to make then more view-able. So the sky looks much brighter then it really was.
Now for my personal views.
I feel that if the officer had called this in when he was on the other side with the two frantic women that the man would of had a very good chance at survival and that the pros would of arrived even before the man was brought out.
Also I find it amazingly fortunate that the hero woman did not kill herself while diving in the dark.
I have had a conversation with the mayors office already and I will be forwarding this article to them…
I am surprised that the metro news made no comment about my being a photographer and that I was photo documenting the event.
I also suggested that they drill two inch holes in the high pedestrian areas where crowds are in danger of falling over, and insert steel pipes with chains
I was on GlobalTV News last night ..it was the opening article and they showed me at my computer with my images showing on the screen.
My closing point..
Let me make it clear..Everything I have written is absolutely true and there are at least a hundred other witnesses who saw what I saw and photographed…
Lets make sure that the rescue woman hero is awarded for her bravery and humanity…
I am the man you were talking to while waiting for the fairy crossing. It was obvious that this incident had a major impact on you and you seem understandibly distrought.
I did not see the actual incident but was there while some of the “going-ons” were happening. Normally I avoid these situations since most of the time I am a participant.
I have been a volunteer Fire fighter for 23 years and the majority of this time as a chief officer and this time I decided to be “the fly on the wall”.
It was obvious to me from my viewpoint ( next to the ambulance) that the police had great difficulty controlling the crowd and really did not seem to know how to handle this situation.
I did go to your website today and have to compliment on your great shots, very nicely done.
Todays MetroNews article http://www.metronews.ca/halifax/local/article/285455?rand=95049 http://www.metronews.ca/halifax/local/article/285455–dartmouth-man-alleges-atrocious-police-response-to-harbour-death
Dartmouth man alleges ‘atrocious’ police response to harbour death
18 August 2009 12:04
The actions – or “inactions” – of Halifax Regional Police are being questioned by a man who says he watched in shock as rescue efforts were made for the man who fell to his death in the harbour Saturday evening.
Dartmouth resident Daniel Towsey called the police response “absolutely atrocious” during an interview with Metro yesterday.
Towsey said he saw one officer talking with two frantic women.
“He’s sitting there acting like he doesn’t believe what these women are telling them,” he said. “The women kept repeating it, trying to get this man to listen that there’s two people in the water under the ferry terminal.”
When another woman who jumped in the harbour finally pulled the man’s body out of “that murky, dark water,” Towsey claimed police were still slow to respond. “I’m thinking: ‘Doesn’t he have training in CPR? He’s not doing anything!’ ”
Police spokesman Const. Brian Palmeter said officers aren’t trained in water rescue, but do know standard first aid and CPR and will do what they can to assist other emergency personnel.
He said there was an officer on scene within three minutes after the call came in at about 8:30 p.m., adding two officers “put themselves at risk by jumping in the water” once they were able to spot the man.
“Their intention there was to help,” Palmeter said. “I think our officers did everything that they were expected to and more.”
Towsey said he never saw an officer in the water and that “crowd control was non-existent” on the bustling waterfront in the midst of the Halifax International Buskers Festival.
One woman, who didn’t want her name used, told Metro the 52-year-old man was in the water “for a good 15 minutes” before getting pulled out. She said she was about 10 feet away from the man, who was standing on a ledge when he fell “where the ferry docks.”
Palmeter said police are calling the man’s death “an accidental drowning,” adding the investigation is closed.With files from Philip Croucher
So I found out that he victim lived at the mens shelter called The Turning Point. He was known to give out money to anyone that asked for it. He walked around town with his big heavy knapsack that was filled with up to a million dollars. It turns out that his elderly father had recently passed away and left him with a million dollar insurance policy. So the victim said to everyone he did not trust banks.
Witnesses later told me on the day of the drowning that the police had tried to get all the thousands of witnesses away from the edge of the dock. So that they could dive in to retrieve the knapsack. So the police only went in to the water for the knapsack and they never entered the water to save the man. You can see from my pictures that no rescue boat was there and no police officer were wet. Only the lady who dived in, swam and brought the man out was wet..
The knapsack was taken away by the police and has never been seen since.
Soon after my reporting this to the corporate media going on television and being published in the local newspapers. There was a covert attempt on my life.