DENNIS (CBS) – Three teenage lifeguards on Cape Cod are being hailed as heroes after they saved a man who was in distress on Dennis’ Chapin Beach.
Dennis lifeguards Alex Black, Tommy Zaterka and Kai Antos were near chair No. 2 on Chapin Beach when they first spotted a man staggering in the sandy surf on Sunday afternoon.
Nineteen-year-old Antos is the veteran, in his fourth summer on the beach. Zaterka and Black, meanwhile, are rookies.
But all three knew exactly what to do when they saw the man in need of help. Two grabbed a board and scrambled into action, while the third called EMTs.
When lifeguards dragged the 64-year-old New Hampshire man from the shallow water, he was clearly in cardiac arrest. Just a few minutes into CPR, the man stopped breathing and had no pulse.
“Halfway through when he wasn’t breathing, no heartbeat. I was really scared. I thought I was going to watch a man die,” Black said.
But that didn’t happen, because the teenagers grabbed the portable defibrillator, something they had only used in training.
“He was not doing great. And then we had to get the defibrillators out to get him back. And we’re really grateful that it worked,” Zaterka said.
It did work, although it was only during a second round of chest compressions that the young lifeguards knew their patient was back with them.
“He kind of of regained where he was and who he was so that was reassuring,” said Antos.
When paramedics arrived, the victim was stable. Firefighters give the teenagers all the credit.
“Really proud of all my friends, the other lifeguards Kai and Tommy, that we were able to save a man’s life,” Black said.
“I mean obviously it could have gone a lot worse, so I’m happy with the outcome, happy he’s OK,” Antos said.
The heart attack victim is now awaiting bypass surgery at Cape Cod Hospital. His outlook is good, and that’s thanks to the fast actions by a trio of Dennis lifeguards.