On Sunday, Davie police say 40-year-old Dimitri Alexiou drowned while trying to save his parrot, which had flown into the retention pond behind his Cameron Cove apartment building that’s west of University Drive.
“It was horrible. I was in tears,” said Janine Ross, who saw Davie rescue divers try to unsuccessfully save Alexiou.
Jared McCall says he’d sometimes see Alexiou walking his two dogs near the pond.
“It’s unfortunate – a tragedy that hits close to home right in front of you,” he said.
Davie police say no foul play is suspected. But it’s unclear how the parrot, which did survive, ended up in the pond with Alexiou trying to save it.
His friend Carson Ross says Alexiou worked as an electrical lineman for the MasTec company. He says Alexiou had worked a long shift before the incident and says Alexiou may have been dehydrated.
The tragedy underscores the danger of wading into retention ponds which are common at apartment complexes and gated communities all over South Florida.
“The bottoms are muck. You will sink,” says Jay Sanford, the senior program coordinator for Swim Central, the drowning prevention program under Broward’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “You don’t know how deep they are or what’s on the bottom. It’s dark water.”
If you find yourself with a pet or child in the pond, Sanford says to try to get them back to shore while you are on a steady platform. Also, call 911 when necessary.
“You may find yourself in trouble quicker than you think,” he says.