When Gary Golding and Rob McNulty saw a teen trapped in a rip current, they dove into action.
Los Angeles County lifeguards responded about 3:00 p.m. Wednesday to Abalone Cove after friends of the missing 19-year-old said a group of them were jumping off the rocks into the water, which was calm at the time. Their friend, a recent high school graduate disappeared Wednesday in rough surf in Abalone Cove near Rancho Palos Verdes and is presumed dead. A recovery mission is underway, just three days after another teen was rescued by citizens who saw the first teen struggle in rough water and then lose consciousness.
On Sunday, in a separate incident, a teen was trapped in a rip current in rough water and lost consciousness in Abalone Cove in Rancho Palos Verdes. Today the more fortunate teenager is recovering after being knocked unconscious or lost consciousness during his struggle in a Southern California rip current. The citizen rescue was caught on video.
Gary Golding, 46, tried to grab the teen, but realized his own life was in danger as he got caught up in the violent rip current and was swept out to sea himself.
“At that point I really realized how helpless I was,” Golding said. “And I was basically fighting for my life.”
Hillary Swanson, Golding’s friend, captured video of the whole rescue.
“I was really scared,” she said.
With Golding struggling to tread water, his friend Rob McNulty took a leap of faith and also jumped in to rescue the two other helpless swimmers. He knew he had to do what he had to do.
“The next thing I knew my feet left the rocks and in I went,” McNulty said.
McNulty spotted the seemingly lifeless teen and heroically pulled him onto rocks. With Golding by his side, he gave the teen CPR, which he was able to recall from training 20 years ago.
“Rob had said, ‘I think he’s dead,'” McNulty said. “And I said no, we’re not going to give up on this kid.”
Lifeguards arrived and the teen was airlifted to a local hospital where he’s recovering.
Doctors say that if the teen had spent another minute unconsciousness in the water, he would have died.