Sara Schaller

A 14-year-old girl and her 18-year-old cousin were swimming in Lake Michigan off Porter, Indiana, when they were caught in a rip current and waves 4 feet high on June 20, 2023. The current swept them out about 300 feet from shore into cold water about 10 feet deep. Sara Schaller, a 42-year-old veterinary nurse from Hammond, Indiana, was walking on the beach with her 4-year-old daughter when she was alerted to the situation. Schaller asked a woman to watch her daughter and waded out into the surf as waves crashed down on her. The water deepened and Schaller swam to the girl, who by then was fading in and out of consciousness. She grabbed the girl under both arms and swam about 150 feet toward the beach until she touched bottom on a sandbar. Schaller slowly dragged the girl to shallow water as waves crashed over them and eventually pulled her to the beach. Another beachgoer swam out to the cousin, who was unresponsive and had been washed closer to the shore by the waves. The cousin was brought back to shore with the help of others and was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Paramedics treated the girl and she recovered at the hospital. Schaller was exhausted but uninjured.