Amsterdam resident James Glorioso Jr. was using his metal detector Monday morning at a beach in Atlantic City when a woman alerted him to two people struggling in the water, he recalled later Monday.
The two people, it turned out, were a father and his 11-year-old son. Soon, with no lifeguards on duty, Glorioso was in the water, too, having commandeered a boogie board from another beach-goer and paddled out to attempt a rescue.
“You’re wired to help people,” Glorioso, a former deputy and Montgomery County Sheriff's candidate, told The Daily Gazette in a phone interview later Monday. “That’s what you do.”
Glorioso spoke hours after Atlantic City Police identified Glorioso as playing a central role in the attempt. The boy survived, having gotten back to shore himself.
Despite Glorioso's efforts, though, the boy's father did not make it. A "terrible situation," Glorioso said.
The incident began at about 9:30 a.m. at the city's New Jersey Avenue beach, police said. Lifeguards weren't scheduled to be on duty for another half hour.
“I looked out and could see they were very far out,” Glorioso said of when he was alerted to the situation.
The 11-year-old boy was able to swim back. Glorioso made it out to the father, but the father was unconscious and floating face-down in the water. Glorioso attempted to perform CPR, but the riptide rendered relief efforts difficult, he recalled.
The waves swelled.
“I was going five feet forward and 10 feet back,” Glorioso said.
He paddled the man about 100 yards back to shore. By then, Atlantic City Beach Patrol were arriving to duty and responded from a nearby beach tent.
Atlantic City Beach Patrol Chief Steve Downey was the first to reach Glorioso and the victim, followed by members of the local fire department, police said. They then got Glorioso and the father to shore.
Glorioso handed off resuscitation efforts, which ultimately failed. The father was taken to a local hospital, where he died. The boy was taken to the hospital for treatment, police said.
CBS Philly reported the victim was a 59-year-old man from Reading, Penn. Neither party have been identified.
“I was exhausted,” Glorioso said. “It was just all adrenaline. You don’t think about when you're trying to help somebody."
But he also feels if the death would be preventable if lifeguards were posted at earlier hours. Beachgoers tend to show up earlier to reserve spots, he said, and he feels Atlantic City Beach Patrol should also post increased signage alerting visitors to the unguarded shores.
The two were struggling directly in front of a lifeguard chair, he said.
Glorioso, of Amsterdam, made an unsuccessful bid for Montgomery County Sheriff last year. He has since gone on to a career in acting. He has appeared as an extra in various television shows.
He previously served part time as a sheriff's deputy in Dutchess County and Montgomery County, and as a part-time officer in Fort Plain.
- From Montgomery County Sheriff's candidate to Hollywood extra: Glorioso tries new role, Feb. 11, 2019
- NJ.com: Father dies after trying to save his 11-year-old son struggling in ocean at Jersey Shore, July 29, 2019