A Long Island lifeguard is being called a guardian angel after saving a swimmer from dangerous rip currents.
Eighteen-year old Kristen Caulfield had just finished her shift at the Atlantic Beach Club Thursday when she saw people shouting and pointing at a struggling swimmer 100 yards from shore.
Caulfield plunged in. After navigating through menacing tides stirred up by the approach of Hurricane Earl, she reached the swimmer, 58-year-old Mike Gimpel.
Caulfield slipped a 600-foot tow rope around herself and Gimpel and 15 people onshore pulled them to safety. The Rockville Centre teen tells Newsday she was coughing up seawater after the rescue.
Both were checked out at Long Beach Hospital that night, but are now fine.
Caulfield was back at work Friday. Gimpel visited her and apologized for the ordeal.
Published at 4:45 PM EDT on Sep 4, 2010
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York