SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — A former WWE star helped save the life of a child who was dragged into the Gulf of Mexico by a rip current Thursday, according to the South Walton Fire Department.
Professional wrestler Al Snow, 58, told celebrity news website TMZ that he saw the boy in trouble and was able to reach him before he was dragged into deeper water.
The incident happened at about 2:30 p.m. in Santa Rosa Beach.
South Walton Fire Officials confirmed Snow’s account saying that a lifeguard was able to get to the pair and use a flotation device to help the boy back to shore. Officials added that the lifeguard assisted the boy’s mother who was distraught after the incident.
Rip currents are a persistent threat on several beaches along the Gulf Coast. It can be extremely difficult to return to shore once caught in one. That was something Snow mentioned in his TMZ interview.
“I was able to stay up,” Snow said, “and hand him off to the lifeguard and I made my way back across to my friend and we went up on the beach and I felt like I was about to collapse. I was exhausted.”
Snow, whose birth name is Allen Ray Sarven, wrestled in the WWF and WWE for more than a decade starting in 1995, along with several other local circuits.
Experts say if you are caught in a rip current, don’t try to swim directly back to shore. Instead of trying to overcome the force of thousands of gallons of fast moving water, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the rip current, then swim diagonally back in to the beach.
Lifeguards also warn against forming human chains to reach a struggling swimmer, as they just put more people in the water who themselves will. Instead, flag a lifeguard or call 911 for help; if you have a flotation device throw it from the shore.