Nicholas Co. teen helps rescue children from ocean in Georgia

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 6:59 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As school gets ready to start back many of you may be looking to get in those final days at the pool, lake, or beach.

For many the summer months means time spent around the water, but it can also turn dangerous.

Already in 2021 Kentucky Fish and Wildlife say there have been 35 fatalities on Kentucky waterways.

WKYT’s Amber Philpott has a message from one central Kentucky teen after a day at the beach for his family turned into a rescue mission for another.

When 17-year-old Drew Anderson decided to become a lifeguard, sure it was a summer job, but those who know him say its fits him. “He’s just a good kid, he has a good heart, he’s always willing to help people,” said Mandy Anderson, Drew’s mother.

The Nicholas Co. teen who works at the Cynthiana Country Club spends his days with his eyes trained on dozens of swimmers.

He has had some close calls while on duty, but it was a recent family vacation to Tybee Island, Georgia where he really had to put his life guarding skills to the test.

“We were talking and the next thing I know, it only took a second,” said Anderson.

Drew says he remembers seeing two younger children pretty far from shore.

“The riptide was very strong that day so it was just pulling them way out there,” said Drew Anderson.

In an instant the situation became worse and Drew jumped into action without even thinking.

“Then I saw of the kids dads yelling at the beach lifeguard for help and right then I immediately swam out to the kids and didn’t think anything of it, I just immediately swam out. One of the kids, they were saying that they were dying and they were drowning and it was very sad,” said Anderson.

Drew and his father were able to get the family to safety while mom Mandy looked on stunned.

“It kind of hit me wow this could have ended very differently, so after the initial kind of shock and panic I was very proud,” said Mandy Anderson.

Stop Drowning Now, a water safety education group says 10 people drown every day in the U.S and about 3400 people drown each year.

It is also the number one cause of death ages one to four.

“For a lot of people they will go to a park or beach or a local pool and they assume I’m dropping my kids off the lifeguards going to handle it, when you think the lifeguard might have 200 people in the pool to watch at once and you want to watch your kids you better be with your kids,” said Letitia Hollingsworth-Gray.

Letitia Hollingsworth-Gray is the Director at the Lancaster Aquatics Center on UK’s campus.

She says we should all be able to recognize victims in the water. “One would be a distressed swimmer and that might be the person that might call out to you and you might see their arms,” said Hollingsworth-Gray.

But it can quickly turn into an active drowning. “It will go from somebody trying to swim with their feet behind them to a vertical position, and the only time they are bringing their arms up out of the water is not to wave and get your attention but it’s going to get that breath of air,” said Hollingsworth-Gray.

She also says if you are going to be around the water you should know CPR.

“If you don’t feel comfortable giving someone breaths, at least giving chest compressions will help,” said Hollingsworth-Gray.

Thankfully Drew Anderson didn’t have to do CPR on the people he helped save, but it was a real life lesson.

One he hopes we can all learn from this summer.

Remember if someone is drowning call 9-1-1 right away.

If you can get to the victim, try, and keep them calm and reach or throw a flotation device to them.

Also, always if you are boating make sure you have a life jacket for everyone on board.

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