Wipe out: Headphone-Wearing Guard Suspended

Rockaway Beach lifeguard faces the music

A certain lifeguard will now have plenty of time to listen to music -- just not on the city's dime.

The city has suspended the lifeguard photographed wearing his headphones while on duty Sunday morning on Rockaway Beach, according to the New York Post. The Parks Department brought formal disciplinary charges against the nine-year veteran on Monday, the same day that damning photograph hit the press, spokesman Philip Abramson told the Post.

"This is an unacceptable violation of our regulations, which is not representative of the dedication and diligence displayed by the vast majority of our over 1,300 lifeguards," he told the Post.

It is against Parks Department rules to wear headphones while on duty and the guard left his on just a few minutes too long. The photograph was taken at 10:08 a.m., just eight minutes into the guard's 10 a.m. shift.

"He certainly wasn't doing what he was supposed to be doing," Mayor Bloomberg told the Post. "They're supposed to be paying attention to those in the water and those on the beach to make sure they're safe."

Reports of the guard's lackadaisical behavior come as the number of drowning deaths continues to rise along the city's coastline -- at least three have been reported since Saturday morning.

Daniel O'Neill, 19, of The Bronx, drowned Saturday at Beach 25th Street, Michael Mathison, 56, drowned Monday off Breezy Point near Beach 227th Street, and Anthony Bolden, 21, of Brooklyn, drowned late Monday night after successfully rescuing his friend near Beach 149th Street. Two of the three incidents occurred in areas where lifeguards were not on duty, the third has been linked to a possible heart attack in the water.

Beach-goers are encouraged to call 311 if they spot any lifeguard not paying attention.

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