Jaret McDonald of Los Alamos helps rescue a young boy caught in a riptide in California. Photo by Jen McDonald
Los Alamos residents Jaret and Jen McDonald are avid surfers and take regular trips to California where they catch waves at El Porto and Manhattan beaches in Los Angeles County.
In March, the McDonalds traveled to California with their Rotary Club of Los Alamos Foreign Exchange Student Krissi Wallis to enjoy spring break by the ocean. It seems the ideal place to relax and unwind but something unexpected occurred in the middle of the trip.
Jaret explained that they were at Porto Beach when they heard someone scream. They initially thought the individual was yelling, “Shark!” but earlier they spotted porpoises in the water so they figured something else was happening, he said. What Jaret discovered was a young boy had gotten caught in a riptide, a fast-moving ocean current, and was crying out for help. An onlooker grabbed the lifeguard on duty who plunged into the water to rescue the young swimmer, only to get caught in the riptide as well.
“It was crazy,” Jaret said. As a result, Jaret dove in and ushered the young boy to safety. The lifeguard was able to get himself to shore.
After Jaret brought the boy to shore, he said “the kid was hugely grateful.” The boy’s mother also was extremely appreciative, he said.
Jaret said childhood swim lessons taught him about how to handle a riptide. He said he remembers during these lessons being taught to swim sideways. Jaret added that he is grateful he was able to help the young swimmer. “The fact that I was there was certainly helpful.”
Editor’s note: Jaret McDonald works at Los Alamos National Laboratory and is a candidate for Los Alamos County Council on the Republican ticket.