Former Syracuse University basketball player Matt Tomaszewski rescued two people from a rip current off the coast of New Hampshire, but it’s a man he couldn’t save who Tomaszewski was talking about days later, according to the Boston Globe.
In all, six swimmers needed rescuing in the waters off Seabrook Sunday afternoon, reported the New Hampshire Department of Public Safety.
Tomaszewski, 29, brought along a paddleboard to ferry as many as possible back to shore, reported the Boston Herald.
He was soon forced to make a choice, the Boston Globe reported: Save the two people “in shock” clinging to his board, or risk their lives to save an unconscious third man who had slipped from their grasp and was drifting away.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
“At that point, I came to the realization that they needed to get to shore if they were gonna make it,” he said, according to TV station WHDH.
He used his paddleboard to get the two swimmers to shore, then he attempted to save the third man, the station reported.
However, Tomaszewski said he lost sight of the unconscious man in “rough” waters and was forced to return to shore, WCVB reported.
“...When I was running out there, I was thinking about saving as many people as I can, and on my way back in, it was all thinking about my family,” Tomaszewski said, according to WCVB.
Two of the six struggling swimmers were brought to shore unconscious and did not survive, reported NECN.com. The news outlet identified them as Laura and Michael Cote of Methuen, Massachusetts.
Two Seabrook Police officers also jumped into the water to help save people, and lifeguards on jet skis quickly arrived from nearby Hampton Beach, reported WBZ-TV.
Tomaszewski was staying at his parents’ beach home with his wife and child when he first heard the screams for help, reported Syracuse.com. He was a 6-foot-8 forward who played two seasons at Syracuse University, the site said.