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Surfer credited with saving struggling swimmer from rip current off Folly Beach, SC

Liam Becker told WCIV that he used his surfboard to push the distressed swimmer back to shore on Saturday.
Liam Becker told WCIV that he used his surfboard to push the distressed swimmer back to shore on Saturday.

A Charleston surfer is being credited with rescuing a swimmer caught in a rip current off Folly Beach over the Mother's Day weekend, according to media outlets.

TV station WCIV reports the incident happened Saturday, at a time when the beach and the water were packed with tourists.

Liam Becker detailed the incident in a Facebook post, saying he was in the "right place at the right time" when someone nearby pointed out a struggling swimmer farther out in the ocean.

"We both notice some people (were) frantic on the beach," Becker wrote in his post. "I’ve never paddled so fast and hard in my life. I got to the man as quickly as I could and had to help him put his arms on my board because he was so fatigued. He couldn’t talk and was trying hard to catch his breath while coughing up saltwater."

The man, identified only as Chris, was put on Becker's surfboard and pushed back to the shore, where a wife and friends were waiting, Becker said in his post.

"Turns out poor Chris also has asthma so one of his buddies brought his inhaler to him... The wife was hysterically crying. She was hugging me and thanking me over and over," Becker wrote.

TV station WCBD reported that friends of the rescued swimmer said he was taken to a hospital and was in good condition. He was released that same day, the station reported.

Andrew Gilreath, the Folly Beach director of public safety, told TV station WCIV that this is the time of the year when the Folly Beach has a jump in water rescues. "We answer around 30-40 water rescues a year," he told WCIV.

Folly Beach police reported a similar incident in 2011, but in that case, a surfer was the one struggling. "A citizen saw the surfer and went out on their jet ski to bring the surfer back to shore," reported TV station WCSC.

Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs
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