Connecticut man dies after being pulled from Marco Island lake

Video from NBC-2

— Update:

A Connecticut man who was found at the bottom of a Marco Island lake died shortly after he was taken to the hospital late Monday afternoon, police said Tuesday.

Dean A. Pfeil, 61, went into a lake at Frank E. Mackle Community Park to retrieve part of a remote-controlled boat when he began to struggle, according to witnesses. Two friends jumped in to rescue Pfeil but were unable to do so, according to Capt. Dave Baer, assistant police chief.

Firefighters and police found Pfeil in the lake around 5:15 p.m. – about 35 minutes later – and took him to Physician’s Regional Hospital on Collier Boulevard, where he was pronounced dead.

Baer said Pfeil, a former Marco resident, had been visiting friends in the city.

Earlier:

A 61-year-old Connecticut man was rushed to a local hospital Monday afternoon after being underwater for nearly 30 minutes in a Marco Island lake.

The man’s friends told police they were playing with a remote-controlled boat in a lake at Frank E. Mackle Community Park, 1361 Andalusia Terrace, when the boat malfunctioned. The man went into the lake to try to get the boat, but began struggling and calling for help, said Capt. Dave Baer, Marco Island assistant police chief.

Two of the man’s friends jumped in to help him, but also had trouble and ended up having to rescue one another, Baer said. Police and firefighters were dispatched to the lake around 4:40 p.m.

Divers with police and fire searched the area and found the man around 5:15 p.m., Baer said. He was taken to Physician’s Regional — Collier, but authorities said they could not release details of his condition, citing medical privacy laws.

Baer said he was withholding the man’s name until his next of kin was notified.

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Comments » 25

RayPray writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

gladesgator writes:

Sad to hear of this but I do have a question that I think is worth posting. Marco Fire and Rescue is only about 3 minutes from Mackle Park. How did this man stay under water for 30 minutes before rescue was able to retrieve him. The park is crowded that time of day. Was it not reported properly? Was the response time slow? I think that there should be some follow up by city officials or reporters to answer these questions to make sure the this matter was handled appropriatly.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Maybe if we had a 1/2 Million Dollar Boat there,,,,
Maybe if we had more Firemen,,,,,
Maybe if we payed the Firemen more,,,,,,
Maybe if we raised taxes and put in a substation,,,,,,

Lets just face it, we have the best Fire/Rescue Department in the world,,,,,,,till we need them.

gladesgator writes:

in response to OldMarcoMan:

Maybe if we had a 1/2 Million Dollar Boat there,,,,
Maybe if we had more Firemen,,,,,
Maybe if we payed the Firemen more,,,,,,
Maybe if we raised taxes and put in a substation,,,,,,

Lets just face it, we have the best Fire/Rescue Department in the world,,,,,,,till we need them.

This is not the place for politics or political rant. Let's get the facts, ok!

OldMarcoMan writes:

If THIS ISNT the place for political rants than where is ?
You must be new to either The Island, the Paper, The Blogs, or Marco Politics.

gladesgator writes:

in response to OldMarcoMan:

If THIS ISNT the place for political rants than where is ?
You must be new to either The Island, the Paper, The Blogs, or Marco Politics.

Are you a heartless soul? A man died. Marco Fire and Rescue are housed three minutes from the lake where he drowned. The walk around the lake should have been busy at the time of the incident. Two teenage boys are being given hero status for their rescue efforts of saving one another but no one has bothered to look into and publish anything about why the victim stayed underwater for thirty five minutes before anyone got to him. There may be no mystery here at all and the death may be due to a series of unfortunate circumstances but I think someone should try to determine what happened.

As far as injecting your petty politics into this scenario, especially since there are answers, I find it very distasteful and heartless

gladesgator writes:

I just watched the NBC video embedded in the article. It says there were many people out here and no one else went into the water. However, there is no mention of when Fire and Rescue arrived. It seems that the NBC video was devoid of any substance but needed a theme and public interest and so it focused on the rescue efforts of the teenager. Well, sure he deserves credit but does everyone else that was at the lake deserved to be condemned as heartless uncaring bystanders? And how did the NBC news crew arrive at that conclusion in such a short time?

blogsmog writes:

Those kids are true heros! The town should celebrate them

Throat_Yogurt writes:

Ban the lake! Grew up on the island, this is a first.

RayNetherwood writes:

Sad. Well, let's see .... summon the trial attorneys, fence off the lake, demolish the little boat dock, put up at least 100 warning signs five feet apart, and hire a couple of guards to yell at people who get within 10 feet of the fence or walk on the grass instead of the path. That should fix the problem.

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot writes:

Drain the lake! Make it a petting zoo for all the old folks. Couple goats, a lama, maybe a small elephant or two? A lake is no place for these folks to be playing with a toy boat unsupervised.

30 minute response time? There's an armed intruder in my home. It's 1am. What do I grab first? The phone? Or my .45?

gladesgator writes:

in response to WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot:

Drain the lake! Make it a petting zoo for all the old folks. Couple goats, a lama, maybe a small elephant or two? A lake is no place for these folks to be playing with a toy boat unsupervised.

30 minute response time? There's an armed intruder in my home. It's 1am. What do I grab first? The phone? Or my .45?

No one said anything about a thirty minute response time. I have no idea how long it took for the Fire and Rescue to get there. The article said the man was under for 35 minutes. None of you seem to care about the facts and most are just cynical and meaningless responses.

gladesgator writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Right now, I just asked for the facts, maaam,just the facts!

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Klaus says....But - for you we need a new weapon law. Collect al 45er!

Why? So you and the other thugs, law breaking, rapist, criminals can carry out crimes with NO fear? This is America! It is a right given us by our creator to protect ourselves. Not given by our government, not taken by our government. "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Read it until it sinks in. Or, take a swim!

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
Robert A. Heinlein

Brisla writes:

Good job, Logan!

RayNetherwood writes:

"Clinging to our guns and bibles" ... gee, the first part makes sense, but not the second. Apparently "the big guy" didn't deem someone worthy of being able to walk on water ... no grace, no blessings. It remains a sad thing for the family, but invoking "the Great Pumpkin" to somehow make things okay is mysticism. Which, helps explain why the world is such a freaking mess. It will remain interesting to see what Marco Island's "response" to this attractive nuisance is going to be.

MrsT writes:

I have to agree with the question of Dean being underwater for 35 minutes with the PD/FD/Ambulance less than 1/2 mile away. Something doesn't seem right. Don't know who called 911 but if they were told someone was drowning seems absurd it would take that long to respond.

dc5799 writes:

What about the guy who went to urgent care with chest pains and there was no one there to drive the ambulance?

Concerned24 writes:

I can not believe some of the rude and obnoxious comments on here. How would some of you feel if this man was someone YOU knew or a member of YOUR family? Dean and his family have been neighbors of ours for many many years. He lived in Marco Island for a while before returning to CT to help care for his elderly parents. It is truly a tragedy that such a decent, kind man died like this. Can some of you that are residents shed some light on this to help us understand what happened? Is this a lake that is open for swimming or not? Someone referenced thick mud, but are there other factors in the lake that would cause him to be trapped or injured (wildlife, currents, weeds, etc.)? If the park was so crowded, how come only one teenager went in to help? Having lived in FL for a while myself and having been a lifeguard in FL, why did it take 35 minutes to locate and pull him out of the water? If the rescue squad was only a few minutes away, what happened? Were they unable to find him? Finally, I saw the guy in the video who went into the water to help and I am grateful to him for his efforts. If anyone has an address for him or a way to get in touch with him, please let me know. I would like to actually send him a card myself to say THANK YOU for caring enough about a total stranger that you put your own life on the line to TRY to save him. We need more people like him in this world!

laslic writes:

Seems to be a pattern here:
1.Fire on Gulfport Ct, 2 mins from fire station - TOTAL LOSS!
2. Man drowning at Mackle Park, 2 mins from fire station - HE DIED.
Makes the best fire department on the Island; just reward them with a lucrative contract, half million dollar boat, and renovation of the RESORT.

gladesgator writes:

in response to Concerned24:

I can not believe some of the rude and obnoxious comments on here. How would some of you feel if this man was someone YOU knew or a member of YOUR family? Dean and his family have been neighbors of ours for many many years. He lived in Marco Island for a while before returning to CT to help care for his elderly parents. It is truly a tragedy that such a decent, kind man died like this. Can some of you that are residents shed some light on this to help us understand what happened? Is this a lake that is open for swimming or not? Someone referenced thick mud, but are there other factors in the lake that would cause him to be trapped or injured (wildlife, currents, weeds, etc.)? If the park was so crowded, how come only one teenager went in to help? Having lived in FL for a while myself and having been a lifeguard in FL, why did it take 35 minutes to locate and pull him out of the water? If the rescue squad was only a few minutes away, what happened? Were they unable to find him? Finally, I saw the guy in the video who went into the water to help and I am grateful to him for his efforts. If anyone has an address for him or a way to get in touch with him, please let me know. I would like to actually send him a card myself to say THANK YOU for caring enough about a total stranger that you put your own life on the line to TRY to save him. We need more people like him in this world!

We share your concern as well as your disgust over some of the rude comments. You should be able to contact the Marco Island police department and/or the parks and recreation department for some answers. The lake is not open for swimming and it is hard to understand how this man was in the water for over thirty minutes. I is too early to make accusations like some of the blabber-mouth posters on this site have done. I hope you follow through and make sure the questions are answered and the answers are made known to the public.

gladesgator writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How is that rude and ranting, pray tell? One poster asked if he lake was open for swimming and so I provided an answer.

erikdean writes:

in response to MrsT:

I have to agree with the question of Dean being underwater for 35 minutes with the PD/FD/Ambulance less than 1/2 mile away. Something doesn't seem right. Don't know who called 911 but if they were told someone was drowning seems absurd it would take that long to respond.

Real simple folks....

The man drown within a minute and a half of entering the water. He then sank to the bottom which is often the case when someone drowns in fresh water. There is less than a foot of visibility in that lake water. I would think you could now understand why it would take 35 minutes to find and pull him out of the water. If not, I can take you to the lake and throw a bright orange bicycle in the water... I will time you while you look for it...

Regards,

Erik

ajm3s writes:

in response to erikdean:

Real simple folks....

The man drown within a minute and a half of entering the water. He then sank to the bottom which is often the case when someone drowns in fresh water. There is less than a foot of visibility in that lake water. I would think you could now understand why it would take 35 minutes to find and pull him out of the water. If not, I can take you to the lake and throw a bright orange bicycle in the water... I will time you while you look for it...

Regards,

Erik

Excellent! And you could understand why the rescue personnel told the teenager to come out of the water. But the video, played Hollywood, with little mention of the Marco Island Rescue operation.

Tragedy, and thank god we did not create more victims but it came close... and the last thing rescue personnel want is a search for more victims.

Folks, the Fire Rescue squad did what they had to do and they had the proper equipment to aid in the search. And any fire chief knows the negative impact of the public, as well as, rescue personnel acting under a "hero mentality" for it can lead to additional peril and breakdown of command/protocol.

I understand the hero angle to the video story, but sometimes as we raise the hero to new heights for public consumption, I only wish we would stop looking for heroes and pay more attention to the tragedy and move forward to initiate simple safety recommendations such as placement and identification of flotation devices for emergency use near all public ponds. Simple and inexpensive.

Please let us not turn this into a circus, and that applies to all parties, both public and private.

Sometimes, the less said has more impact.... and I believe I said to much.

gladesgator writes:

in response to ajm3s:

Excellent! And you could understand why the rescue personnel told the teenager to come out of the water. But the video, played Hollywood, with little mention of the Marco Island Rescue operation.

Tragedy, and thank god we did not create more victims but it came close... and the last thing rescue personnel want is a search for more victims.

Folks, the Fire Rescue squad did what they had to do and they had the proper equipment to aid in the search. And any fire chief knows the negative impact of the public, as well as, rescue personnel acting under a "hero mentality" for it can lead to additional peril and breakdown of command/protocol.

I understand the hero angle to the video story, but sometimes as we raise the hero to new heights for public consumption, I only wish we would stop looking for heroes and pay more attention to the tragedy and move forward to initiate simple safety recommendations such as placement and identification of flotation devices for emergency use near all public ponds. Simple and inexpensive.

Please let us not turn this into a circus, and that applies to all parties, both public and private.

Sometimes, the less said has more impact.... and I believe I said to much.

The video was poor and news coverage slanted and not really in the public interest.

The latest two post were very informative and appreciated. What has not been answered is when the incident was called in and how long it took the rescue squad to arrive.

Also, someone said the man was a good swimmer. If so, why does a good swimmer suddenly go down?

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