Tamara Loiselle was walking with a friend along the beach in Cancun on Dec. 29 when they heard screams of help from out in the ocean.
After running to the shore, she motioned to security people on scene that she could swim since no one else seemed willing to go out.
She grabbed a life preserver and wrapped the rope linked to the beach around her before heading into the water.
About 10 minutes later, she returned with the couple — also on vacation from Montreal — to shore greeted by paramedics, staff and her friend.
Loiselle says the woman told her she thought her life was over.
“It was quite an emotional call,” Loiselle said about the phone call on Monday.
“She was still very emotional about the situation and the things that she had said to me were very touching, she thought she was dying and that I was an angel, that was very, very, very touching. It’s a story with a happy ending.”
The couple had gone out to the water for a swim, but became overwhelmed by the heavy waves.
“She told me that she had indeed came to the conclusion that it was done, she’d given up, she said she was just looking up at the sky,” she said.
Loiselle, a full-time business owner who does triathlon as a hobby, says she reached the man first. He told her to go to his girlfriend, who was struggling to keep her head above water.
Loiselle said her lifeguard training as a teen kicked in during her time in the water, including keeping the life preserver between her and the man, as those struggling in water often pull their rescuers down into the water trying to hold on to them.
She also remembered advice from a triathlon coach a few years ago to dive underneath waves when they come in.
"It all came together on a day that I didn’t really give any thought, I wasn’t going to stand on the beach and watch two people drown and I felt capable in my abilities combined with having the rope around me,” Loiselle said.
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