Hero Emerges Out of Tragedy
Our very own Ian Tordella-Williams, who lives on Bald Head Island and runs our SUP excursions, saved four lives during last weeks tragedy, where one man died.
From WECT.com. Be sure to watch the video!
BALD HEAD ISLAND, NC (WECT) – An untold story of heroism is emerging out of a tragedy at Bald Head Island.
Last week, a man drowned off the southern coast of the island.
Eyewitnesses say the tragedy could have been even worse.
At least four other distressed swimmers were in the water at the time.
However, it appears a good Samaritan sprang into action and saved lives.
“My mind was in go mode,” said Ian Tordella-Williams. “I wasn’t thinking; I was just doing.”
Williams was at the beach for the monthly “Howl at the Moon” party. Hundreds were on the shore for the gathering.
Ian, who is an experienced swimmer, spotted some swimmers in trouble at an area known as “the point”.
The swimmers apparently walked out on the shallow shoals and once the fast-moving tide rolled in, they were trapped in high water.
Ian grabbed a raft and sprang into action, reaching a woman first.
“Her arms were in the air,” he said. “She was going up and down in the water. She told me after I got her on the raft that she had been swallowing salt water and she thought she was going to die.”
Then, Ian paddled with the raft to the others.
“There were three more people who were out there and didn’t know how to swim and they were really panicked,” he said. “They said their legs were cramped.”
The group was too tired to swim to shore, so they hung onto the raft until a rescue boat arrived.
Ian saved four lives. But when he got to shore he learned one person didn’t make it back. Ian believes the man, Kevin Roberts, who was visiting from West Virginia, went out to try to save the others.
Now, Ian wants to make sure that others know what can happen on the shoals.
“It is one of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast but you don’t want to walk out on that point,” he said. “The lesson is don’t walk farther than knee or waist deep on this point. It seems like it is safe but the tide comes up and will lift you off your feet.”
Some are calling Ian a hero but he says he just followed his instincts.
“I would feel really guilty if I was at a place and I didn’t try to help,” he said.
Wilmington, NC | Bald Head Island, NC