Abigail R. Zuehlke helped to save Brandon and Daniel Santiago from drowning, Hunting Island, South Carolina, July 8, 2011. Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off a state park beach, Brandon, 18, and his brother, Daniel, 20, were caught in a rip current that prevented their returning to shore. In another party, Zuehlke, 30, homemaker, had just arrived at the beach and was alerted to the swimmers’ plight by those on shore. She entered the water and waded and swam to Brandon, who was about 300 feet out. Finding him nearly exhausted, Zuehlke hooked him by the arm and started back toward shore, having to swim against the current while towing him. When she was about halfway back, she met up with a man who had entered the surf and turned Brandon over to him. As the man took Brandon to safety, Zuehlke turned and swam out to Daniel, guided by those on the beach. Reaching him at a point also about 300 feet from shore, Zuehlke grasped him and started back toward the beach. A responding park ranger who had entered the surf took Daniel from her, and all three returned to the beach. Brandon and Daniel were treated at the scene, with Brandon then requiring overnight hospitalization. He recovered.
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