An 18-year-old lifeguard is being called a guardian angel after she earned her wings while saving a swimmer from dangerous rip currents on Thursday.
Kristen Caulfield had just finished her shift at the Atlantic Beach Club but sprang into action when a group of people were shouting and pointing at a struggling swimmer 100 yards from shore.
Caulfield plunged in. After navigating through menacing tides stirred up by the approach of Hurricane Earl, she reached the swimmer, 58-year-old Mike Gimpel.
Caulfield slipped a 600-foot tow rope around herself and Gimpel and 15 people onshore pulled them to safety. The Rockville Centre teen said she was coughing up seawater after the rescue.
Both were checked out at Long Beach Hospital that night, but are now fine.
Caulfield was back at work Friday. Gimpel visited her and apologized for the ordeal.
With Associated Press.