An island surfer is being credited with a “harrowing” rescue of a swimmer at Nobadeer Beach Friday afternoon after rushing into heavy surf and rip currents to reach a man who had been swept out to sea.
Harbormaster Sheila Lucey told the Current that the swimmer got knocked over in the water and was fighting in vain to get back to shore when Cam Marks recognized what was happening. Marks swam out and got the distressed swimmer onto his surfboard. Meanwhile, one of the Nantucket Police Department’s Community Service Officers noticed the situation and called on lifeguards who responded from Surfside Beach on ATVs. The two lifeguards swam out and helped Marks get the swimmer safely back to shore.
The man was evaluated by an ambulance crew at the scene.
Mikey Lindley witnessed the episode, and later shared an account of what happened on his Instagram page. “A family friend from Texas was wading in the water when he got hit by a rouge wave and sucked out into a nasty rip tide that flowed out into deep water with surging breakers,” Lindley wrote. “By the time Cam got to him he was on his last reserves of energy. If you’ve ever been caught in a rip tide you know how bad this situation sounds and how life threatening it is. Cam 100% saved his life.”
Another witness, Shelley Kawai, said the man was probably 40 feet offshore when he started yelling for help.
“Before the lifeguards got out to him, a surfer ran out and paddled out to him so he could grab on to his board,” Kawai said. “Lucky for him because even the lifeguards were having a difficult time navigating the heavy surf. They were all hanging onto him and the surfer’s board for awhile. Then eventually the two lifeguards helped him to shore with their buoys. The man seemed exhausted and collapsed on the beach and just lay there for a long time. I overheard the lifeguards discussing his experience— they said he told them that he hadn’t swallowed any water, but that ‘he thought he was going to die out there.’ They thought he was suffering from “shell shock” from his experience of struggle and exhaustion.”