California Park Ranger Tim Murphy doesn't think he's a hero, but he helped save three people in treacherous conditions at Wrights Beach, which is a notorious place for rip tides.
At 9 a.m. a 12-year-old boy, who was riding his boogie board, was carried out. Then his friend went in to help him and that friend was carried out, as well as a father of one of the boys who also went in after them. Then a woman in street clothes also tried to come to the rescue. The little boy who first got into trouble was able to get back to shore, but the rest of the people were stranded for more than an hour in high waves and 52 degree water.
The only buffer between life and death in those conditions was lifeguard Tim Murphy. He said he was telling them, "'Hey, we're going to make it.' A couple of them were saying we're going to die and I was just trying to remain positive in that kind of situation, so to give them some hope."
When asked if they were in some real danger at that point, Murphy said, "Definitely, absolutely. On top of hypothermia, the water temperature right now is about 52 degrees or so or colder, they had been in the water I heard anywhere from 10-15 minutes prior to my arrival. One of the victims was not wearing any type of wetsuit at all, just in street clothes, so she was already very cold and lethargic. And the other two were cold as well."
Cold may be an understatement. All of the victims suffered hypothermia and went to local hospitals by both helicopter and ambulance. There is no update yet on their conditions.
For Murphy, on the other hand, he took this day in stride. Despite cutting his feet on the rocks and being in the water for more than an hour, when it was all done, he put on his uniform and went back to work. He is surprised people are calling his efforts heroic. He says it was a good day at the office and he can smile when he goes to be tonight.