47 year-old Delaware man drowns in Sandbridge trying to help girlfriend’s 17 year-old son

Posted at 3:47 PM, Sep 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-29 09:54:13-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - A man is dead after he was rescued from rough waters in the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach Sunday afternoon.

The man, identified as 47-year-old Michael Manley, jumped in the water to try to save a 17-year-old swimmer, according to Ed Brazle with Virginia Beach Emergency Management Services.

The 17-year-old has been identified as Manley's girlfriend's son.

The family was vacationing in Sandbridge from Wilmington, Delaware.

Crews responded to the distress call around 12:30 p.m. at the intersection of Sandfiddler Road & Marlin Lane.

Upon their arrival, Fire, Police, and EMS crews all jumped in to help save both people but were only able to locate the 17-year-old swimmer.

In continuous efforts to locate Manley, Fire and EMS crews continued their search by boat. About an hour later around 1:30 p.m. they found the him near the surf line in the 2400 block of Sandfiddler Road.

Crews worked tirelessly to recover Manley and transported him to Sentara Princess Anne Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

"It's been a rough storm this weekend with the erosion of the beach and the waves are just powerful and tremendous," says Kim Bargnesi, who lives right down the street from where the rescue happened. "My oldest son said, 'You couldn't pay me a million dollars to go out there.' He's been surfing here since he was five-years-old."

A Virginia Beach Firefighter was also taken to the Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital after he suffered injuries during the search, according to Ed Brazle. He was treated and released.

Monday swimmers were taking precautions.

"It's a terrible thing to happen and it goes to show you how careful you have to be no matter how strong you think you are the waves are stronger than you are," said Helga Fallis, "We certainly will keep the family in our prayers that's a terrible tragedy.”

The tragedy that is now under investigation.

We requested the 911 calls from police - but were told by Emergency Communications and Citizen Services Officials that our request was denied because this is an active investigation -- one that highlights the dangers of ocean water.