FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Officer-worn body camera video captured the heart-stopping moments when first responders came to the rescue of a swimmer who became paralyzed after diving off the coast of South Florida. Now one of the responding police officers is sharing her story.
Speaking with 7News, Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Dianna Rose described the moment she first heard about the incident at the Fort Lauderdale sandbar on the busy Fourth of July holiday.
“While we were headed out there, there was another call that came in through dispatch that somebody had a neck and head injury,” she said. “To me, I thought this might be somebody who’s paralyzed.”
“Is he intoxicated and possibly drunk, or did he actually dive in?” Rose asked a witness.
“I don’t know. What I heard, he jumped off the front of the boat, and he dove in head first,” said the witness.
“A lot of people didn’t actually know who he was,” said Rose. “They pulled him out of the water.”
The bodycam video captured the tense moments following Daniel Eisenberg’s dangerous dive at low tide.
Pulled from the water, the victim was unable to move.
“You’re going to be OK,” said Rose.
“It hurts. It’s like when you…,” said Eisenberg.
“OK, listen, fire rescue is pulling up right now, and they’re going to check you out, OK?” said Rose. “We’re gonna help you up in a second.”
“My job when I get there is just to try and calm him down,” Rose told 7News. “One of the things I noticed is nothing on his body was moving.”
“He’s got no movement,” Rose said to a first responder.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait, I got movement,” said Eisenberg. “I’ll [expletive] show you.”
“It’s one of those incidents where you feel helpless,” Rose told 7News. “He kept saying he wanted to move, and he said he could move, and then he wasn’t able to.”
Paramedics arrived at the scene moments later. One of them spoke with Eisenberg.
“Can you feel this? Can you feel this pinch?” said the paramedic.
“Yes, sir,” said Eisenberg.
“Can you feel this one? You feel it? Move your toes for me, wiggle your toe,” said the paramedic.
“It’s very upsetting when you see something like this,” Rose told 7News, “’cause you know they’re out there having fun, and nobody expects after a fun day to have your whole life changed.”
Rose said the accident hit close to home.
“When I saw him, it broke my heart to see what I thought was happening. My younger brother was a Brevard firefighter. He got into a really bad accident,” she said. “He had a severe head injury. It took about six months, but he did learn to walk again, he learned to talk again.”
That is the hope for for Eisenberg, who continues his recovery at home.
“I can’t walk, I can’t use the restroom on my own,” he told 7News earlier this month.
Eisenberg is working through hours of rehabilitation and physical therapy every day
“Daniel is going to have a long recovery, but there is a percentage that he can walk again, that he’s going to be able to do stuff for himself,” said Rose, “and if there’s a percentage, you just can’t give up.”
“It’s going to be very challenging to regain full mobility, but they do say that it is possible,” said Eisenberg.
“For those people that have to support Daniel, it’s going to be a long road as well,” said Rose.
Family, friends and a community are now rallying around a man on his long road to recovery.
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