July 31, 2019
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Why would a teenage girl go swimming in the ocean at night? Nobody knows. Well, we do know she was in serious trouble by the time the rescuers finally rescued her. It was nighttime; there were no lifeguards on duty. We were at Ocean City, New Jersey, and the only people who could help her were people who ran from the boardwalk, stripped off their shoes and some of their clothes to try to get in there and help her. Now, one person had the presence of mind to bring a life preserver. The girl who was drowning refused it. She actually fought off the rescuers who were battling this strong undertow, and then you heard this strange cry out there, "Hit her!" Sounds cruel but they thought that was the only way to save her. And they hit her. She did go under; she ended up unconscious. They grabbed her. They brought her in and finally rescued her. When I heard "Hit her!" I remembered what my friend Jim had told me. He was a lifeguard on the Pacific Coast for a couple of years and he described what he called a hard rescue. He said, "Ron, if they keep fighting a rescue, we go to our last resort. We knock them out." Wow!