Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Newly released 911 calls capture a Secret Service agent frantically telling a dispatcher that the Obama family’s chef drowned and remained missing after falling off his paddleboard near the former president’s Martha’s Vineyard compound.

“We have a male drowning in the back of the property now,” an agent identified as Dave said in the first of two emergency calls after Tafari Campbell, 45, toppled off his board and into the Edgartown Great Pond in July, vanishing beneath the surface for an entire day.

“We have our rescue swimmers, they’re attempting to go out there right now,” Dave told a dispatcher, according to heavily redacted audio obtained by the Daily Mail.

Dave called 911 at 7:46 p.m. and relayed that at least one swimmer and another agent were climbing into a boat to reach Campbell.

The rescuers hadn’t witnessed the drowning but were alerted by another unnamed individual who rushed to their command with the tragic news.

It’s not clear from the call who the individual was, but previous reporting indicates it was a second, female Obama staffer who desperately tried to save her coworker when he went underwater.

Newly released 911 calls capture a Secret Service agent frantically telling a dispatcher that the Obama family’s chef drowned and remained missing after falling off his paddleboard near the former president’s Martha’s Vineyard compound.Instagram / @sweetsagellc

“Someone came running up to our back post, saying a gentleman, it’s just a guest of the house, is out there drowning,” Dave said.

The agent stumbles for several seconds when the dispatcher asks whether the federal team requires an ambulance or water rescue assistance, stating he wasn’t sure what was going on “in the back of the property.”

“They didn’t advise right now. I would say at least an ambulance,” Dave said.

The agent then asks whether he could call 911 back on another line for follow-up communications, noting that “they’re not passing information over the radio right now.”

It’s not clear from the call who the individual was, but previous reporting indicates it was a second, female Obama staffer who desperately tried to save her coworker when Tafari Campbell went underwater.Instagram / @michelleobama

The dispatcher agrees and gives Dave a number before ending the call with a final request: a basic description of the missing man.

Dave called dispatchers back just a few minutes later with a noticeably more panicked demeanor.

“So our rescue swimmers aren’t able to locate the gentleman that was reported drowning,” Dave said.

“They’re out in the water right now but as of now they don’t know where he is.”

Campbell’s body was found the following day in 8 feet of water about 100 feet from the banks of the Obamas’ estate.

The dispatcher — a different man than before — asks the agent to provide a detailed description of what Campbell had been wearing.

Dave, who is calling from the Secret Service’s command post, is heard consulting over radio with team members on the beach before he is able to describe the personal chef.

“He’s wearing all black, he’s on a paddle board, he’s 40ish years old, black gentlemen, regular build,” the agent replied.

“And we have our rescue swimmers on a boat in the area now.”

Dave radios to the team two other times to confirm that Campbell’s paddle board was recovered, but that he wasn’t wearing a life jacket at the time of the tragedy.

Campbell’s body was found the following day in 8 feet of water about 100 feet from the banks of the Obamas’ estate.

His cause of death was determined to be an accidental drowning, with the medical examiner officially ruling “submersion in a body of water” to be the blame.

Details have been sparse since the July accident and Massachusetts State Police has requested that the identities of witnesses and USSS agents who reported to the scene be redacted from public reports.

Campbell, from Dumfries, Virginia, had previously worked as a sous chef at the White House, beginning under President George W. Bush and staying through Obama’s two terms.

The Obamas later asked him to leave the White House with them and follow as their personal chef.

“Tafari was a beloved part of our family,” the Obamas wrote in a statement mourning his death.

“When we first met him, he was a talented sous chef at the White House — creative and passionate about food, and its ability to bring people together. In the years that followed, we got to know him as a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter.”

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