Emmet Hoey from Letterkenny was part of a search and rescue team which “saved the life” of George Sanderson five miles out to sea off California 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 a day earlier.
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.
Today Emmet was very much a reluctant hero.
He told donegaldaily.com: “We just did what we are trained to do, and it seemed to work out well.
“The victim, George, is said to be making a quick recovery so the end result was good.”
Emmet insisted: “It was a big team effort, maybe twenty plus people involved, and everyone of them played their part. ”
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.
Our previous story on this is here: