Visitors thank good Samaritans for saving boy from North Shore waves

Published: Feb. 20, 2017 at 9:21 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 21, 2017 at 11:24 AM HST
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The family is looking to thank these people, including the male in the center-right wearing...
The family is looking to thank these people, including the male in the center-right wearing blue shorts.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A South Korean family visiting the islands is grateful for the good Samaritans who helped rescue their young son from waters on Oahu's North Shore.

Cell phone video taken Sunday just after 5:30 p.m. shows 8-year-old Ryon Kim playing in the whitewash near shore at Sunset Beach. His younger brother plays nearby. Their grandfather can be seen gesturing to Ryon, though he does not appear to realize the danger the boy is in.

Ryon attempts to leave the water, but a retreating wave knocks him over and sucks him out into the ocean. His grandfather and mother struggle to reach him and that's when several people can be seen running in to help, including Ewa Beach native Christopher Tuncap.

"The minute I saw the second wave come, that's when I got up and I started sprinting," said Tuncap.

Tuncap and his friends were getting ready to leave the beach when they realized the family was in deep trouble.

He said lifeguards had already left for the day.

"I dived in right when he disappeared," Tuncap said. "I was so scared because I'm not only thinking about saving him, but what's going to happen if I get dragged in?"

Eventually, one of the other bystanders is able to grab hold of the child and carry him to safety.

The boy's mother, Yura Kim, said her son swallowed a lot of water but was otherwise OK.

"I thought maybe my son was going to die," she said. "Everything turned to the light and everything turned to like, heaven."

Kim contacted Hawaii News Now, hoping for a way to thank the good Samaritans for saving her son.

"I'd like to say thank you and I'd like to express my gratitude to them," Kim said.

Hawaii News Now managed to track down Tuncap and the other women who came to the rescue, but the man who carried the boy to shore hasn't yet been identified. All of them are being hailed as heroes.

"We're just people from Hawaii, we're not heroes," said Tuncap. "We saw what needed to be done and we went and we got him and that's all the matters."

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