New York

Surfers and Rescuers Jump Into Action, Save Lives of Man and Woman at Rockaway Beach

What to Know

  • Surfers joined an FDNY firefighter and NYPD officer to save two people off the Rockaways on Monday evening
  • NYPD helicopters flew overhead as the man and woman were pulled to shore; they're expected to be okay
  • The rescue came the same day that two women were rescued on the Jersey Shore; one of them was in critical condition Tuesday

The lives of two people were saved in the Rockaways on Monday evening thanks to New York’s finest, New York’s bravest, and New York’s coolest.

A police officer, a firefighter, and a group of surfers worked quickly to reach the man and woman as they struggled for help in the waters off Queens’ southernmost neighborhood.

NYPD choppers hovered overhead as a man and a woman, two strangers, fought to stay afloat offshore. Lifeguards had left for the day, and the two swimmers may have drowned if it wasn’t for the help of the heroic strangers.

Surfers Josh Goldsmith, Patsy Carroll and Danny were heading home when they got word that a man was thrashing 200 yards off Rockaway Beach.

“He didn’t even ask anything about what was happening, he just said, ‘Where is he?’ and ran in,” Goldsmith said of Danny. “It was awesome.”

“Danny’s a strong swimmer, so he put him on the board, but his board is super small,” Goldsmith said. “So Patsy got out and had a much bigger board that kind of all three of them could get on.”

The friends worked together to calm the man.

“He wasn’t making much sense, he was saying like, ‘Oh, I tried. I tried to do this,’” Carroll said. “He had just been through —I don’t know how long he was out there — but at least 20 minutes of struggle.”

As the surfers paddled to the beach with the man, FDNY firefighter John Haber from Ladder 121 swam out to meet them and helped the stranger to safety.

Around the same time the man was being rescued, the crowd on the beach turned their attention to a woman struggling against the choppy ocean water.

NYPD Officer Billy Lauria was on a summer detail as the drama unfolded. He handed off his belt and weapon to his partners. Lauria, a former lifeguard, jumped into the water and saved the woman.

“She wasn’t flailing, she was definitely exhausted,” Lauria said. “Distressed; didn’t have the energy to get back.”

The woman was seen on a stretcher, clearly exhausted. The man was on the beach, dazed but conscious. Both of them were said to be doing well on Tuesday. It was a story that could have had a tragic ending.

“We have a good group of people out here —a good community,” Carroll said. “When somebody goes into action, everybody backs each other’s play. No hesitation whatsoever. It was awesome.”

The Rockaways rescue came the same day that two women were saved in Avon-by-the-Sea in New Jersey. One of the women was in critical condition Tuesday and the other was in stable condition. 

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