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Family fears for father following canal accident

By Staff | Feb 10, 2011

The condition of a Cape Coral man who was hospitalized Wednesday after falling into a canal is deteriorating, according to his family.
Alexander DeAngelis, 79, of 5736 Flamingo Drive, was transported to the Cape Coral Hospital after he tumbled into the water and had to be pulled out and revived. Officials reported that it appeared DeAngelis suffered cardiac arrest before falling into the water.
On Thursday, DeAngelis’ daughter said he was not getting better.
“He’s doing poorly,” DeDe DeAngelis said. “His health is declining.”
Her father has pneumonia from his lungs filling up with the cold canal water and he is on a breathing machine. Doctors have listed his chances near zero.
“I really didn’t expect it,” DeAngelis said. “It’s so sudden, so unexpected, so shocking to me.”
According to officials, Cape fire dispatch received a 911 call reporting that an elderly man had fallen into a canal in the 5700 block of Flamingo Drive at 1:14 p.m. The caller and others were attempting to get the man out of the canal, but they were unable to pull him out of the water.
DeAngelis said her father suffered from a little dementia from a previous stroke, and she believes that he might have jumped in the canal to cool off.
“I guess he didn’t realize that the water would be so cold,” she said. “I think he had a heart attack while he was in the canal.”
Once her father was in the water, DeAngelis’ finance threw the man a life preserver on a rope, a police report states. It appeared that the older man was swimming until he went under. DeAngelis’ finance jumped into the water when he realized that the man was struggling, not swimming to the dock.
DeAngelis said her finance pulled the older man back to the ladder on the dock and held her father’s head above water for about 10 minutes until the Cape rescue team arrived. Her finance could not lift him out of the canal.
Alexander DeAngelis was not breathing and he had no pulse when he was pulled from the water, according to officials. The rescue team placed him on an auto-pulse machine, cleared his airway and began pumping water from his lungs. In less than five minutes, they were able to detect the man’s pulse.
“They were very good,” DeAngelis said of the rescue workers.
“They were excellent in getting him out and aiding his life,” she said.
Her father was stabilized and transported via ambulance to the hospital.
Hospital officials said Thursday no information was available on him.
DeAngelis urged others to keep an eye on their elderly relatives when they are near water to prevent them from going through what her family is going through.
“I left him for like five minutes,” she said. “I turned my back and he was in the canal.”