‘Heroic’ beachgoer pulls girls to safety after hearing their screams, NC officials say

·2 min read
Photo from Southport Fire Department Facebook post.

A “heroic” beachgoer rescued two young swimmers struggling in the ocean at a North Carolina beach, officials said.

It happened at Caswell Beach, a town on Oak Island, on Friday, Aug. 12. A man on the beach heard two young girls screaming for help from the ocean, according to a Facebook post from Southport Fire Department. The department’s Water Rescue Units were dispatched after a 911 call, but by the time they arrived, the girls had already been rescued.

The girls were treated at the scene and released, Southport Fire Chief Charles Drew told McClatchy News.

The man’s wife, Christine Campana Kuznezov, told fire officials her husband noticed the two girls were struggling “far out in the ocean” and decided to swim out and help them.

“He ran out to save them since he is a swimmer,” she said, according to the fire department. “The waves were strong. Other dads followed.”

One dad grabbed a life ring on his way to the ocean, she said.

The safety ring is a part of a recent partnership between The Jack Helbig Memorial Foundation and the town of Oak Island, according to an Aug. 4 Facebook post from the foundation. The project installed safety tubes at each public beach access.

“The rescue tubes can be used by a bystander attempting a rescue if they are unwilling or feel unable to wait for emergency personnel to arrive,” the foundation said.

The ring helped rescue the girls, Kuznezov told fire officials.

“My husband was able to grab her and let her use that to hold onto so he could grab the other girl and bring them both in. He said if he had waited another minute those girls wouldn’t have made it.”

Oak Island is about 160 miles south of Raleigh.

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