Emmet Hoey, from Letterkenny, was part of a search and rescue team who saved kayaker George Sanderson five miles out to sea after his vessel started taking on water.
The incident at the weekend was just a few miles from where a great white shark took a bite out of a fisherman’s boat.
Mr Sanderson, 50, of Paso Robles, rushed to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. He was in a critical condition at the time but his condition has since improved.
Sanderson’s kayak took on water about five miles south of San Simeon Beach, perhaps because of an improperly secured drain plug, according to Richard Stacy of the North Coast Ocean Rescue Team, which pulled the man from the water Sunday.
Sanderson was “wearing a life jacket but was not wearing a wet suit,” Stacy said. Sanderson was breathing, volunteer diver-rescuers told Stacy, but the patient’s pulse was so weak it couldn’t be detected without equipment.
Sanderson’s survival is “due to the quick response of the Cal Fire and North Coast Ocean Rescue personnel and boats,” Stacy said.
Cal Fire’s reconnaissance plane also was there, as was a battalion chief, according to a spokesman, and the agency’s urban search and rescue team was activated. Coast Guard, Hearst Castle Fire and the Sheriff’s Office also participated in the rescue.
The incident came 24 hours after Joey Nocchi, 30, from the same town of Paso Robles, survived having his boat flipped by a great white shark.
He said: “I got hit from underneath and started coming up out of the water. My buddies said I came out of the water 4 to 5 feet — it flipped me over the side. The shark rolled the whole kayak over, rolled me out of it, and he went over the top of it. He swam across me — his tail touched me.”
His pals say the shark was 12 feet to 14 feet long.
Nocchi’s buddies told him “the shark came all the way out of the water, jaws open, extra eyelids closed like they do when they’re making a kill strike.
Nocchi said added: “I did, and I got back to shore as fast as I could, even though the kayak was taking on a bunch of water from the bite. The bite looks to be around 20 inches long, more than 22 inches wide.”
Nocchi said he was glad he did not fish alone, and added he’d likely stay out of the ocean for a while. “I’ll be bass fishing for a while…..probably from the shore.”