Hurricane season kicked off with a bang on the East Coast.
There’s been storm after storm – from Hurricane Franklin (which sent pumping surf to North Carolina) to Hurricane Lee (which prompted a rare, ‘epic’ surf rating in New York) to Hurricane Idalia (which brought an elusive tube frenzy to Alabama’s Gulf Coast).
And with all that swell activity, there’s been a lot of rescues. Like a young surfing couple, who jumped into action last week when they spotted two elderly swimmers struggling in a New Jersey rip current, ultimately (and likely) saving their lives.
Casey Flaherty, 21, and her boyfriend, Alex Rosenthal, 20, were sitting in their car last Wednesday at 11th Avenue in Belmar, NJ, watching the waves, when they noticed the older couple in trouble.
"I would say they were at least 25 yards out, if not more,” Flaherty told Patch news. “I've been a lifeguard so I know what it looks like when it's 'This isn't fun, I need help.' I was on the phone with my mom and I was like I think we need to save these people. I saw two guys going out (without boards) and then they seemed to get caught in the rip, too."
So, the couple grabbed their surfboards and got into rescue mode.
When they reached the struggling swimmers, they realized three things: 1) they were about 70 years old; 2) they didn’t speak English well, potentially Russian; and 3) they needed serious help, especially the man.
"That other guy who swam out to save them was just getting his footing,” said Flaherty. “The woman said go help my husband. His eyes were closed; I thought he was unconscious. They did not speak any English; he also could not even get words out. I said we need to get this guy in because he is going to go into cardiac arrest any minute now."
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Luckily, paramedics were already in the sand when they arrived back onshore.
"We go to the sand and that's when he kissed me on the cheek and said thank you for saving my life,” said Flaherty.
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