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Watch: Fla. deputy who trained as a lifeguard saves swimmer from rip current

Deputy David Bazylak was honored with a life-saving award


Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office

By Suzie Ziegler

OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida deputy has been honored with a life-saving award after he rescued a swimmer from a dangerous ocean current, WFLA reported on Sunday. Bodycam video from another officer shows Deputy David Bazylak removing his duty gear, grabbing a flotation device and sprinting into the waves.

According to the report, Bazylak and his partner were called to the scene for a report of two swimmers caught in a rip current. One of them made it to shore safety, but the second swimmer was still struggling 100 yards from shore, WEAR-TV reported.

Video shows Bazylak making his way into the ocean with a rescue can he grabbed from his truck, the report said. The fire department then arrived and sent a firefighter with a rescue board to help Bazylak, according to WEAR-TV. Together, they returned safely with the exhausted swimmer. The whole rescue from dispatch back to shore took 14 minutes, the report said.

According to the report, Bazylak previously trained as a lifeguard as a longtime member of the Beach Unit. Police said several good Samaritans had offered to help with the rescue, but deputies told them it was too dangerous.

Bazylak was awarded the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Life Saving Award for his action and dedication, the agency said.

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