Quick-Thinking Strangers Form Human Chain, Save 3 Struggling Swimmers

Beachgoers rallied together and formed a human chain to save three people who were caught in rough waters off Kauapea Beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai last week.

According to local newspaper The Garden Island, trouble started when a 42-year old Austrian man appeared to be in trouble 30 yards off shore.

A nearby hiker, Adrian Nicholas, wrote on his Facebook page that he heard a "faint cry of help" before jumping into the water to assist the struggling man. "Next thing I know," Nicholas wrote, "we are both being pummeled by huge surf."

According to a statement from the county of Kauai, a 50-year old Kauai woman who tried to help was also swept out.

"With all of us exhausted it was a very scary situation," Nicholas wrote in a comment on the county of Kauai's Facebook page.

That's when onlookers banded together in an effort to rescue all three.

By the time Kauai firefighters arrived on the scene, they saw that about a dozen people had locked arms together, forming a human chain from the water to the shore.

The group was able to rescue the two men, and two firefighters saved the woman, according to the county's statement.

Kauapea Beach is known for its rough water, strong currents and harsh shore breaks, especially in the winter when surf is big on the north shore. A high surf advisory was in effect for north- and west-facing shores at the time.

"Rip currents are extremely dangerous and difficult to detect," Fire Chief Robert Westerman said in a statement. "The quick-thinking and cooperation of this group of strangers likely saved three people from drowning on Tuesday."

The two Kauai residents were treated on the scene and, although the Austrian man was transported to Wilcox Hospital with signs of exhaustion, everyone is expected to recover completely.



Ordinary Heroes, Extraordinary Courage