WILDWOOD — A North Jersey man saved a father from drowning Tuesday morning, firefighters said.
Before 9 a.m. and prior to the beaches being guarded, city firefighters, police, the North Wildwood Fire Department and Wildwood Beach Patrol’s ALERT (After-Hours Lifeguard Emergency Response Team) were dispatched to Cresse Avenue and the beach for a water rescue assignment, city fire Chief Ernest Troiano III said in a news release.
City firefighters arrived and found two people clinging to a small boogie board 75 to 100 yards out, Troiano said.
The Fire Department immediately deployed swimmers and a rescue board into the water, quickly reaching the two men, who were visibly exhausted and unable to make it back to shore, Troiano said.
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One man was placed on the rescue board, while the other man was placed on the boogie board and brought safely to shore by city firefighters, Troiano said.
Investigators determined Aaron McCoy was jogging along the water’s edge with his sister when they heard cries for help, Troiano said. McCoy commandeered a boogie board and began paddling out to the adult victim while his sister called 911.
McCoy made contact with the victim and secured him to the boogie board until help arrived, Troiano said.
Further investigation revealed the victim was the father of a young girl, who was originally in distress, and once he was able to rescue his daughter, became a victim himself, Troiano said.
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“McCoy’s heroic and selfless actions prevented a tragedy from occurring,” he said.
This is the second time in as many weeks that a civilian has risked their life to save another, Troiano said. A Philadelphia man saved a woman from drowning July 13 off the beach at Baker Avenue.
“The Wildwood City Fire Department commends Mr. McCoy for his bravery and continues to remind the public to only swim in the ocean while the lifeguards are on duty,” Troiano said. “If you see someone in distress in the water, immediately call 911.”