Derek C. Merman attempted to save Gardy Pierre-Jacques from drowning, Hampton Bays, New York, July 25, 2008. While standing in wadable water near shore at an Atlantic Ocean beach, Pierre-Jacques, 25, was overtaken by a wave and carried farther out by a strong current. He called for help. Merman, 18, construction worker, was on the beach in the vicinity and was alerted to the situation. Although he could not then see Pierre-Jacques, Merman immediately entered the water with his short surfboard and paddled out. He found Pierre-Jacques at a point about 300 feet from shore, unresponsive and nearly submerged. Merman positioned him on his board and started to swim toward shore, towing him. About halfway in, they became caught in a rip current, which Merman escaped by swimming parallel with the beach. He resumed swimming toward shore and with effort reached wadable water, where others took Pierre-Jacques to the beach and attempted to revive him. Pierre-Jacques was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Merman was tired, but he recovered.
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