NORFOLK, Va. - The power of teamwork and bravery of local first responders was especially clear at the East Ocean View community beach on Friday.
Around 6:30 p.m., Norfolk Fire-Rescue units were called to the 700 block of East Ocean View Avenue for a water rescue.
Captain William Sigafoos says they dispatched their boat out of Willoughby and went to the beach to evaluate.
He says two kids got out of the water, but a father and two girls were about a half-mile out in the water.
Captain Sigafoos says one of the girls was in bad shape and there was no time to wait for the boat.
"It was a matter of seeing the condition that she was in and realizing that if we didn't do something very quickly, she wasn't going to be around here."
He talked to Norfolk Police Officer, David Dubus, also at the scene, and the two put on life vests and swam out.
Officer Dubus says he was just minutes away from getting off a 12-hour shift.
"Five minutes before I was supposed to be off I jumped in," he says.
Captain Sigafoos brought the girl in distress back to shore to receive medical treatment. He says he talked to her the entire time to keep her awake.
"It was a good feeling to make sure that we got everyone out of the water," he says.
In very cold water temperatures, Officer Dubus held onto the father and young girl until the Coast Guard arrived.
"It eventually got to the point where I'm just holding both of them and trying to kick as hard as I can to keep us afloat," he says.
A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew launched from Station Little Creek in Virginia Beach and arrived on scene within 14 minutes.
"We’re just grateful for him and what he did because if he wasn’t there, we wouldn’t be able to do our jobs," says Petty Officer Third Class Brandon Perryman.
"For 30 minutes he treated water and held these people up, he's a hero," says Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyle Crabtree.
With the help of two other crew members, the two pulled the father, young girl, and police officer on the boat to safety.
"Once you find out everyone is fine, you realize this is what you signed up for, a public servant, this is what it’s all about," says Petty Officer 3rd Class Crabtree. "We’re not happy that it happened, but we’re glad we are the ones that responded, with the fire department and police department, we were able to save them, it’s an honor."
The Fire Department says the two previously in the water and three rescued out of the water were all taken to the hospital but they were conscious and in good condition.