אפיסער דזארדש וועיסמען פארציילט זיין חלק פון די מעשה
Tuesday, May 17th began with a series of unexplained events that culminated in a life-changing intersection of tragedy and divine intervention.
Waisman’s alarm clock went off early that morning, getting him to his 10 AM appointment at the State Attorney’s office ahead of schedule. After wrapping up his business in record time, Waisman found himself driving to the Bal Harbour police station even though he was off duty.
“I went to work but when I got there I had no idea why I was there,” Waisman told VIN News. “I knew I had gone there for a reason, but I had no idea what it was.”
Leaving the police station, located on 96th Street, Waisman headed north towards his Aventura home. Passing the Haulover Beach area, he noticed rescue trucks and fire engines heading towards Bal Harbour and, for reasons he cannot explain, he drove up the grass and onto the beach even though the emergency vehicles were all going in the other direction.
“Something directed me to that particular area,” said Waisman, who noted that the initial call for help had directed rescuers to the wrong location.
Lifeguards were already giving CPR to one victim by the time Waisman arrived and, after advising his dispatcher of his situation and location, he joined the resuscitation efforts. Informed by one of the five Chasidic swimmers that there were three more still to be rescued, one lifeguard began pulling a nearby jet ski out of the sand while Waisman went into the water to rescue a victim who was struggling nearby.
“I pushed him to get him out of the danger area,” recalled Waisman. “I walked him to the sand and sat him down. He was okay. Then we got on the jet ski to go pull out the other victims.”
The two soon reached one of the remaining victims but Waisman was unable to pull the man onto the jet ski platform. He realized that his best course of action was to go into the water and push off the ocean floor to boost the victim up onto the jet ski, but the water was deeper than Waisman had anticipated.
“As I am going down to push myself from the bottom I realized that there was no bottom,” said Waisman.
The son of Jewish parents who hadn’t practiced religion in years, Waisman found inspiration at that moment from a completely unexpected source.
“The hand of G-d touched my heart and told me to relax, not to worry,” said Waisman. “Something lit up in my body that I can’t explain and I started praying for the first time since my bar mitzvah and I felt so powerful. Something beautiful that I can’t explain gave me the strength to put him up on the platform.”
Despite Waisman’s efforts and those of the other rescuers, it was too late for Rosenberg and Parnes who both succumbed to their injuries. Waisman said that he believes that the man he brought in on the jet ski was Rosenberg and confirmed that both victims that he rescued from the water were wearing bathing suits, despite rumors to the contrary.
Waisman, who initially asked for privacy in light of the tragic circumstances, received more than 12,000 emails within days of the tragedy thanking him for his efforts. Touched by the outpouring of support that he received, he has diligently been trying to work his way through his inbox.
“Every one that I am reading, I try to respond to,” said Waisman.
Waisman said that the events that took place last month have given him a new lease on life and he has since visited the synagogue located next door to his home.
“I am starting to follow some of my parents’ beliefs,” said Waisman. “I am kind of happy to go back to shul. I used to be very negative about different thing but I realized that I was looking at the glass as half empty. Now I wake up and thank G-d every day for my health and the health of my kids. It changed me spiritually so much, those 10 minutes.”
- צוויי שעה נאך די טראגעדיע
- ביים וואסער פון די טראגעדיע