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May 25, 2020 Observer Newsletter: Death of Shad Gaspard


On 5/17, on the weekend the Southern California beaches were reopened, Shad Gaspard, wife Siliana, and ten-year-old son Aryeh headed to Marina del Rey beach in Venice, CA.

He and his son were body surfing about 50 yards from shore at 3:40 p.m. when a dangerous rip tide came. Lifeguards sprung into action. The lifeguards were able to save a number of swimmers. A lifeguard saw Shad and his son in the ocean. The lifeguard himself had to make a split second choice, a ten-year-old child and a huge adult, who to try and save first. One person close to the situation told us that in a split-second, you have to make choices and this choice was obvious.

But even if it wasn’t, Shad made sure it was. While struggling himself, he told the lifeguard to “take him,” waving, and pointing to his son. The lifeguard tried to deliver a rescue can, a buoy-like device to tow the boy back to shore, but with the size of the waves, Aryeh couldn’t grab onto it.

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