01/05/2015 03:01 EST | Updated 03/07/2015 05:59 EST

Calgary Woman Saves Drowning Montreal Couple In Cancun

Tamara Loiselle
A Calgary woman is being credited with saving the lives of a Montreal couple she spotted in distress in the waters off Cancun, Mexico.

Tamara Loiselle and a friend first heard cries for help around 7:30 a.m. CT on Dec. 29.

“We all ran out to the beach because we could hear a man screaming for help,” she said.

Loiselle said one of the security guards brought a life preserver then another two guards rolled out rope on a big reel.

"We were kind of all just standing there kind of looking to see who’s going out, how is this unfolding," she said. "There was no lifeguard. It seemed apparent that none of the security guards would be able to swim out."

Loiselle, who competes in triathlons and worked as a lifeguard as a teenager, volunteered to attempt to rescue the struggling swimmers.

Swimming out with the rope around her waist, clutching the life preserver, Loiselle quickly realized how big a challenge she was facing.

“The waves were quite large,” said Loiselle, who estimated the couple had drifted as much as 60 metres away from shore.  

Loiselle said she struggled to swim underneath the fast breaking waves.

“I got knocked around a little bit, at one time I got … the wind knocked right out of myself,” she said.

“I did have the thought about, 'oh my God, what did I get myself into?' and 'I hope this works out well because I have two small children at home.'”

Loiselle said as she got closer it was clear the couple was in serious trouble.

“Once he could see me, you could tell he was very relieved, and then he pointed out a little farther and he said, ‘go to her first,’” she said.

“And then when I looked out farther I could see a woman that was completely exhausted. Just her face was sticking out of the water, gasping for air.”

Loiselle used the rope and life preserver to help pull the couple to shore.

“As soon as I felt the rope starting to tow us in I was like, 'oh thank God … everybody’s going to be OK,'” she said.

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