Paul A. Nikas, Chief of Police
15 Elm St.
Ipswich, MA 01938
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Swimmer Rescued off Crane Beach in Dense Fog
Ipswich Police and Fire, along with State Police and Coast Guard Search for Missing Man
IPSWICH — Ipswich Police Lt. Jonathan Hubbard reports that a man who had gone swimming Tuesday evening was rescued after he went missing in dense fog in the water off Crane Beach.
Ipswich Police and Fire received a call at approximately 7:04 p.m. that two swimmers, had gone for a swim at 5:30 and failed to return. Police arrived and quickly found the first swimmer who reported that he was swimming with another man when they became separated by rip currants and fog that caused poor visibility.
The water temperature was approximately 60 degrees and visibility was near zero at the time.
The swimmers are familiar with the area, were wearing wet suits, and were reported as strong swimmers. At this point multi-jurisdictional a search and rescue operation was launched. A unified command post was established at the Trustees of Reservations Crane Beach Parking lot by Sgt Justin Daly of the Ipswich Police Department and Lt. Jeff French of the Ipswich Fire Dept. Numerous Ipswich Police and Fire Department resources were called in including off road vehicles and rescue boats.
The Coast Guard also dispatched a helicopter, a fixed-wing aircraft, and a 27-foot boat. The Massachusetts State Police sent a K-9 unit, and Massachusetts Environmental Police also responded.
At approximately 7:23 p.m. the first of the two swimmers was located when he walked up to the command post after he had swam ashore and walked back. He was uninjured and did not require medical care. He is identified as Alexander Auerbach, age 28, of Edgartown.
At 9:19 the command post received word from the Coast Guard Helicopter that they had eyes on a swimmer treading water off of Crane Beach. The swimmer was located approximately two miles east of the main offices and about a quarter of a mile from shore.
The Coast Guard helicopter deployed a rescue swimmer who rescued the man successfully. The second swimmer is identified as Randall Hackett, age 58, of Ipswich.
Hackett was flown to the command post where he was reunited with his family and transported by Action Ambulance to a hospital for evaluation.
Lt. Hubbard praised the rescuers, who descended on Crane Beach from all over, for ensuring a positive outcome Tuesday.
“This was a tremendous effort by municipal, state, and federal agencies who came together to locate a swimmer in difficult conditions and rough waters,” Lt. Hubbard said. “We are grateful that Mr. Hackett was located reunited with his family this evening.”
Crane Beach is a large conservation and recreation area in Ipswich, directly north of Cape Ann. It features a 4-mile beachfront and is open year-round.
Chief Paul A. Nikas is attending the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in California. Lt. Hubbard is acting chief.