Swimming teacher Jean Pendrich (pictured left) was on holiday in Puerto Rico – an island near the Dominican Republic when she realised that a 13-year old boy was in trouble in the water. According to Local London she was lying on the beach when her husband Stuart spotted two people 50 metres out to sea, drifting close to the rocks. Realising the two American holidaymakers Derek Becker and his father – were in trouble, two lifeguards rushed to the shore and started blowing whistles to attract their attention.
Seeing the lifeguards were reluctant to dive in, Mrs Pendrich went to the rescue. She said: “I had to dive through the waves – I couldn’t swim on them as they were three to four-foot high. I just kept swimming as fast as I could and when I reached him, he was in major shock.”
Mrs Pendrich grabbed Derek with her right hand and told him to keep breathing, “he was hyper-ventilating and kept going under. We were getting pushed nearer to the rocks and I kept telling him to kick his legs.”
On her return to London, Mrs Pendrich was contacted by Derek’s mother to say: “I will never forget Jean and the brave, heroic feet she performed that day. She has saved my family from tragedy.”
Jean teaches at Angela’s Swimming School in Bexley.
Read the history of lifesaving and rescue in the book: Hung Out to Dry Swimming and British Culture.
Read safety advice for adults and teenagers swimming in open water at: Swim Smart