2002-09-14 / Front Page

Surfers Pull Drowning Duo To Safety

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

Two Rockaway men surfing on a beautiful weekday afternoon went to the rescue of an unidentified man and woman who were being swept into a rock jetty by a raging tide last Tuesday afternoon.

Robert Portano and Jamie Silver were at Beach 91 Street, taking part in their favorite leisure-time pursuit – surfing, when they noticed a man and a woman in trouble.

"They were being swept towards the rocks by the tide, Portano told The Wave. "They weren’t able to fight the tide and they weren’t strong enough to get up on the rocks by themselves."

Portano and Silver paddled their surfboards over to the two and took the man, who Portano says weighed about 300 pounds, up on the surfboards. With the help of a friend who was watching from the rocks, they got the man out of the water to safety. Then they went back and pulled the woman from the surf.

"Without us, there would have been two dead people in the water," Portano says. "These people who are down for the day have no idea how dangerous this water can be for swimmers."

"They need more of us out there," Portano added, "not less," alluding to the fact that many surfers have been targeted this summer by the 100 Precinct for surfing when there are no lifeguards on duty.

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