Deputy risks own life to rescue swimmer from drowning

A 12-year-old St Johns County boy is alive at this hour, after being pulled to safety yesterday evening according to information received by Historic City News today. The boy, Austin Wesp of St Augustine, went into the surf north of the Vilano Beach jetties, but he and two of his friends were quickly overcome by the force of the waves and rough current.

Thankfully, St Johns County Deputy Sheriff Cameron Coward was on routine beach patrol in the area at about 6:00 p.m. A witness approached him and advised that it appeared that two people were in distress.

“Deputy Coward removed his duty belt and equipment, acquired his agency issued life vest from the patrol vehicle, and entered the water just south of the jetties,” the Sheriff’s incident report stated. “The victim was about 40-50 yards away from shore when Deputy Coward entered the water.”

Although two of the three young teens were able to make it back to shore on their own, Coward reported that as he pulled up to the scene, he could see Wesp was in trouble; being taken out to sea by the current and yelling for help.

Coward enlisted the help of an unidentified surfer and together the two men were able to recover Wesp from the ocean and return him safely to the beach.

St Johns County emergency medical professionals provided treatment for all three of the swimmers at the scene. None suffered more than minor injuries according to the report.

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