FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. – The body camera footage worn by officers captured the tense moments when first responders came to the aid of a swimmer who became paralyzed after diving off the South Florida coast. Now, one of the police officers who responded is sharing her account of the incident.
Speaking with 7News, Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Dianna Rose recounted the moment she received the call about the incident at the Fort Lauderdale sandbar on the busy Fourth of July holiday.
“As we were heading out there, another call came in through dispatch about someone with a neck and head injury,” she explained. “My initial thought was that this might involve someone who’s paralyzed.”
Rose questioned a witness about the situation: “Is he intoxicated and possibly drunk, or did he actually dive in?”
The witness responded, “I’m not sure. From what I heard, he jumped off the front of the boat and dove in head first.”
“Many people didn’t know who he was,” Rose said. “They pulled him out of the water.”
The bodycam video captured the tense moments following Daniel Eisenberg’s risky dive during low tide. Once pulled from the water, he was unable to move.
“You’re going to be okay,” Rose assured him.
“It hurts. It’s like when you…” Eisenberg began.
“Okay, listen, fire rescue is arriving right now, and they’ll check you out, alright?” Rose reassured. “We’ll help you up in a moment.”
“My role when I get there is to try and calm him down,” Rose told 7News. “I noticed that nothing on his body was moving.”
“He’s not showing any movement,” Rose informed a first responder.
But Eisenberg interjected, “Wait, wait, wait, wait, I have movement. I’ll [expletive] show you.”
“It’s one of those situations where you feel powerless,” Rose shared with 7News. “He kept insisting he wanted to move and that he could move, but then he couldn’t.”
Paramedics arrived at the scene shortly after. One of them engaged with Eisenberg.
“Can you feel this? Can you feel this pinch?” the paramedic asked.
“Yes, sir,” Eisenberg responded.
“Can you feel this one? Can you feel it? Move your toes for me, wiggle your toe,” the paramedic instructed.
Witnessing such a situation is deeply upsetting, Rose reflected. “It’s heartbreaking to see something like this, because they’re out there having fun, and no one anticipates their whole life changing after a day of enjoyment.”
For Rose, the accident struck close to home. “When I saw him, it broke my heart to see what I believed was happening. My younger brother was a Brevard firefighter. He had a really bad accident,” she shared. “He suffered a severe head injury. It took about six months, but he managed to regain the ability to walk and talk.”
Eisenberg’s hope is similar – he continues his recovery at home.
“I can’t walk, I can’t use the restroom on my own,” he disclosed to 7News earlier this month.
Eisenberg dedicates himself to hours of rehabilitation and physical therapy each day.
“Daniel has a long road to recovery, but there’s a chance he can walk again, be independent,” Rose affirmed. “And if there’s a chance, you can’t give up.”
“Regaining full mobility will be quite a challenge, but they do say it’s possible,” Eisenberg stated.
“For those supporting Daniel, it’s going to be a lengthy journey as well,” Rose concluded.
Now, family, friends, and the community are uniting to support a man on his arduous path to recovery.