The following story is the reason I ask the million $ question everywhere, which is: “If you were to die today, would you go to heaven or hell?”
Manhattan Beach- It was a moment of pure exhilaration, an act of abandon to celebrate a life now under control.
A leap from the Manhattan Beach Pier would also end the days of 20-year-old Daniel Barth.
He had struggled through adolescence with substance abuse and had finally emerged successfully from the thrall of alcohol and drugs. He’d been sober for two years.
Then on a recent, chilly Sunday morning, Daniel decided to celebrate this turn in his life. He made a whimsical choice to celebrate two years of alcohol and drug-free living with a breathtaking plunge off the Manhattan Beach Pier, swim ashore and proclaim his victory over addiction.
He took the plunge in the dark at about 2:40a.m., April 9. It was the last thing Daniel ever did.He never made it past the rip currents and high waves that pounded the Manhattan Beach shoreline during the wee hours that morning.
The air was crisp. The ocean was churning below. The water temperature that night was a little less than 50 degrees. Waves of three to five feet pounded the shore.
So that chilly Sunday morning, clad only in his jeans, Daniel set his bare feet on the edge of the pier ready to take off. He invited a couple of his friends to join him. They didn’t feel up to it. So he went solo. Climbing over the barricade, he went in with one, simple motion.
No one can tell for sure what happened down in the water. But Daniel couldn’t swim ashore. He called for help. His friends flagged down a Manhattan Beach police car.
But as it turned out, it was too late.
After a seven-hour search, a team of divers found his lifeless body only 35 feet away from the pier under 20 feet of water.
-Deepa Bharath, Daily Breeze, 4-20-06