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Family remembers father’s contributions to Cape Coral

By Staff | Feb 12, 2011

A Cape Coral man who fell into a canal earlier this week died Friday morning.
Alexander DeAngelis, 79, of 5736 Flamingo Drive, died shortly after 10 a.m., according to a family member.
DeAngelis moved to the Cape in 1970 and was active in city issues, speaking frequently before city council during the city’s earlier days.
“I want him to be remembered as one of the Cape’s forefathers,” said his daughter, DeDe DeAngelis, Friday night.
Mr. DeAngelis was hospitalized Wednesday 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.
Despite the rescue effort, his condition quickly deteriorated, according to his family.
He suffered pneumonia from his lungs filling up with the cold canal water and he was on a breathing machine Thursday with a poor prognosis, DeAngelis said
“I really didn’t expect it,” she said of the accident. “It’s so sudden, so unexpected, so shocking to me.”
According to officials, Cape fire dispatch received a 911 call reporting that an elderly male 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.
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.”