A New York firefighter went above and beyond the call of duty on his vacation when he rescued three girls from a rip current off a North Carolina beach on Thursday.
Sean O’Gorman, a firefighter with the Oswego Fire Department, was on vacation with his family in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, when he noticed two girls in the water appearing to have difficulty swimming back to shore, Fox News reported. He then noticed a third girl struggling to get to shore, and informed the girls’ mother.
While the mother called 911, O’Gorman sprung into action and swam out to rescue the girls himself.
“We were sitting, watching the girls playing in the water about 75 yards out, and I noticed they stopped trying to get back to the shore, and I think they were caught in a rip current,” O’Gorman told the Charlotte Observer. “I decided to swim out, which was easy. Getting back was a struggle, with me trying to tow them all in. They were hooked onto my feet.”
The soon-to-be 52-year-old firefighter said the girls “did not panic” and he felt confident that local firefighters would have rescued them if he was unable to do so.
Oswego Fire Department confirmed in a Facebook post that O’Gorman “completed swift water rescue training” as recently as last week.
Deputy Fire Chief for Emergency Management Justin Norfleet said the fire department trains for several types of marine rescue operations, including ice rescue, swift water rescue, and dive operations.
Oswego’s proximity to the Oswego River and Lake Ontario in Central New York allows firefighters to be trained in these rescue operations, Norfleet added.
The rescue comes one day after police in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, called off a search for a four-year-old boy gone missing from being swept out to sea. Before he went missing, he was spotted walking along the beach holding his mother’s hand.