HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Cell phone video of a dramatic rescue on Oahu’s North Shore is gaining traction online ― and first responders hope it will help underscore the dangers of big surf.
The rescue happened Friday when the woman got caught in riptide off Ke Iki Beach.
Ocean Safety lifeguard Freddie Booth was on patrol at the time when he saw the swimmer and immediately jumped into the rough seas to rescue her.
“We had some pretty large surf, probably 8 to 10-foot surf,” said Ocean Safety Lt. Kerry Atwood.
“8 to 10-foot surf in that area is extremely dangerous. We don’t have a stationary lifeguard tower there so we do rely on patrols.”
Cell phone video shows taken by a bystander Booth battling the waves as he swam to the woman.
Once he reached her, though, he had to make a decision: Try to bring her in or wait for help.
“As you can see, he makes contact with the swimmer and he needed to make that split-second decision whether to take her out and wait for the rescue craft to show up or to bring her in,” said Atwood.
Booth decided to take her back to shore and battles big waves for nearly three minutes.
Atwood says this is a perfect example of why people need to be aware of their environment and to stay away from dangerous conditions in the water.
“It’s important that people see this and realize what can go wrong especially in an area like that,” said Atwood.
“My advice to beachgoers is that when the conditions are extreme, go to a beach that has a stationary lifeguard tower. Steer away from the more remote areas, don’t venture out onto wet rocks.”
Booth told Hawaii News Now the video of his rescue is also an example of what his fellow Ocean Safety colleagues do on a daily basis across the island.
Ocean Safety officials say they conducted 24 rescues from North Shore waters Sunday.