California rescue workers watch man drown for an hour because they lacked water rescue certification

Kitty Genovese alert: Rescue workers in Alameda, California allowed a suicidal man to drown while watching for more than an hour from shore because they didn't have the necessary water rescue certifications:

Rescue workers in Alameda, California were forced to watch as a man drowned after they realized they could not save him because they did not possess the proper certifications for water rescue required to legally do so.

Had the workers attempted a rescue without the legal certifications, they could have faced lawsuits leading to massive fines and career ending rulings.

The victim was a suicidal man who waded into the waters to take his own life. Onlookers, including police, firemen and other rescue workers were forced to watch from the water’s edge hopelessly.

In fact, because of certifications and laws, rescue workers could not even legally enter the water to retrieve the body after the man had died. The police asked an onlooker to do it for them.

After the drowning and outrage from the local community, the policy was changed Tuesday night:

At a hearing Tuesday evening, the policy that prevented trained people from intervening and rescuing people in distress was changed.

One man told the board during the meeting, "It just strikes me as unbelievably callous that nobody there with any sort of training couldn't strip off their gear, go in the water, and help this person."

Zack's body was recovered by an off-duty nurse who swam out 50 yards to get him.

Ted Kennedy was unavailable for comment.