Oregon deputy risks life to save boy from rip current
14-year-old Joshua Peterson and his rescuer, a deputy sheriff, struggled to survive the frigid Pacific waters on an Oregon beach when they were both swept away from shore by a rip current.
"A wave came up from behind me, and I was thinking no one could hear me when I was calling for help," Peterson told ABC.
A rip current first took the seventh-grader away from the shore of Harris Beach, and he was forced to tread water as a friend called 911.
"I was really scared at first. I was out there for about 20 minutes until Terry showed up. If he hadn't come out, I would have been a goner," he told The Bulletin.
Terry Brown, the sheriff's deputy, arrived first on the scene. He immediately tried to help but ended up getting himself caught in the dangerous rip current, too.
"Armed with a life vest and a rescue line, the deputy dives in the 50 degree water, but the rope runs short," ABC reported.
So, what is a rip current -- and why are they so dangerous?
"Basically, rips are strong, narrow currents that flow from the shoreline, through the surf zone and offshore. They exist to take all the breaking water that's piling up on the beach back out to sea," Dr. Rob Brander from the University of South Wales says.
According to The Oregonian, that same type of current kept Brown and Peterson away from the shore for "almost and hour" -- twice the typical survival time for those conditions.
The two were reportedly "near death" when they were finally rescued by the Coast Guard.
Despite severe hypothermia, Brown and Peterson have become good friends and even shared a hospital room that night, according to KEPR.
Fortunately, the two are expected to make a full recovery.