VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Two swimmers in distress were rescued at the Oceanfront Thursday morning.
At 10:46 a.m., a woman called 911 to report two swimmers who needed assistance off the beach at 35th Street. Engine 11 responded to the call for help.
Upon arrival, Virginia Beach Fire Department firefighter Wes Arendt swam out to a man and his wife about 50 yards off the beach. A surfer in the water had already placed the woman on his surfboard while her husband clung to the rear of the board.
Arendt, along with the surfer, attempted to bring the couple to shore, but the husband lost his grip on the board. Both swimmers were tired.
"Extremely tired, they probably had been trying to swim for quite a while and definitely needing help," said Arendt.
Arendt gave his rescue float to the husband and instructed him to hold on while he brought the man's wife to shore with the surfboard. He then returned for the man and was able to get him safely to shore.
The woman was transported to a local hospital after complaining of respiratory difficulties.
Ana Garvin witnessed the whole thing from her hotel balcony.
"They kept getting hit wave after wave after wave and it seemed like they were really struggling to stay afloat," Garvin said.
Though it's what lifeguards do multiple times a day, Arendt was still glad to help, even if it wasn't his usual territory.
"A life saved - doesn't matter how or where, whether it's in the water or in a building, it's a life," said Arendt, who is a certified rescue swimmer and grew up surfing in California.
The VBFD reminds beachgoers to pay attention to posted notices and warnings about the forecast for dangerous rip currents.