Campers in East End helped prevent a tragedy over the Easter weekend when they assisted in the rescue of a free diver.
Ryan McGee and Steve Thomas did not know each other before Saturday, but when the men noticed a call for help from the water, they came together and reacted quickly.
The two spotted a white flag waving from a boat on the water around 3 p.m.
“While we were [on the beach], I was watching a boat out there and realized that I saw them waving a white shirt on a stick, so I obviously knew they were in distress,” Mr. McGee said.
He said he and Mr. Thomas rushed to the scene in Mr. McGee’s 14-foot boat, while another camper contacted emergency services.
“When I reached the [boat in distress], I realized a guy was free diving and on his way back up, he blacked out,” Mr. McGee said.
He said he recognized the man as a fellow East Ender.
He said the unconscious diver had been pulled aboard the other boat, but the vessel became stuck on the reef in choppy waters. Mr. McGee and Mr. Thomas pulled the man onto their boat and were able to bring him back to shore, where they were met by police officers.
By this time, the diver began to regain consciousness.
The men then returned to the reef on their boat and were able to pull the stricken vessel off the reef and back to land.
Witness Jane Kelly said, despite the anxiety felt by onlookers, Mr. McGee and Mr. Thomas handled the situation calmly.
“Thanks to Ryan and Steve’s courageous actions, a tragic event was avoided. They only hope the man they brought ashore has recovered,” Ms. Kelly said.