Michael S. Chandler rescued Blake Brock from drowning, Southern Shores, North Carolina, July 19, 2018. Blake, 12, was playing in the Atlantic Ocean with his brothers when a rip current carried him to a point about 200 feet from shore in water 12 feet deep. His brothers alerted their mother and her fiancé immediately sprinted to the water and swam toward Blake. As Blake’s mother continued to call for help, Chandler, 52, a vacationing firefighter, responded to the scene from nearby and removed his cap, shirt, and sandals. By this time, the fiancé had reached Blake, moved behind him and, grasping him beneath his armpits, threw Blake out of the rip current. The fiancé struggled to stay afloat as he was carried by the current about 60 feet farther from the beach. Chandler entered the water at a point farther south and swam about 240 feet to reach Blake. Another man also swam out to a point near Blake and Chandler. Chandler grasped one of Blake’s arms with his right hand and side-stroking with his left arm, towed the boy to shallow water atop a sand bar about 60 feet from shore accompanied by the other man. Both men and other bystanders then helped Blake wade to shore after advising an arriving lifeguard that the fiancé remained in the water. Blake, who had swallowed sea water and was treated at the hospital for shock, recovered. Chandler was nearly exhausted, but not injured. Ocean rescue crews using at least one personal watercraft pulled the fiancé from the water unresponsive several minutes later. Efforts to revive him on the beach were unsuccessful. He had drowned.
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