Lifeguards are being credited as heroes after they rescued two men from a near-drowning at Ocean Beach Park in New London Sunday afternoon, according to first responders.
Both men were conscious after the near-drowning experience but they were vomiting. One man, who is approximately 60 years old, also had difficulty breathing and chest pain. The other man, who was around 30, had abdominal pain, according to New London Fire Department Battalion Chief Tom Curcio.
After the fire department arrived, both men were transported by ambulance to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital.
“From what I read on the report, it looked like it was in a strong area where there’s a strong current down there by the creek,” said Curcio, who was not on-duty when the incident occurred.
It was near a jetty, according to multiple first responders.
First responders said the initial call was for at least four people in trouble.
Beachgoers had pointed out swimmers they believed were in distress to beach staff, according to New London Police Capt. Brian Wright. Staff alerted an officer on-duty at the beach, who called dispatch.
Beach staff is “relieved and extremely proud” of the lifeguards’ work, Dave Sugrue, the general manager for Centerplate at Ocean Beach Park, said during a phone call with NBC Connecticut.
“All of our staff makes safety the focus of the job and undergo diligent and constant training all summer long to keep our guests safe,” Sugrue said, adding that the public should observe signs and avoid situations that could potentially put themselves and beach staff in a tight spot.
“We’re grateful of the team for the quick and professional reactions to save the day,” Sugrue said.
The fire department echoed the sentiment. Curcio also advised swimmers pay attention to any signs of rapidly moving water.
“I’m just grateful that they’re out here and we can depend on them. That’s amazing,” said beachgoer Crystal Bell.
The East Hartford local said her son was impressed by the quick response of lifeguards Monday afternoon.
“He saw a lifeguard. He was blowing his whistle … and he was like, ‘Gosh, they really have to act fast!' He just jumped off the ladder,’” Bell described.
“In the event that we need their help, they’re there. It’s very comforting,” said James Goldfarb, of West Hartford.