Deputy Fire Chief saves kayakers in Burton - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Deputy Fire Chief saves kayakers in Burton

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

In the Lowcountry, two people are recovering after a close call when their kayaks overturned in Burton Creek. 

Monday, they are calling an off-duty Burton Fire District Deputy a hero for answering their calls for help. 

This is a pretty incredible rescue story about being in the right place at the right time. It was the Deputy Fire Chief who heard that call. He was off duty at the time, but he happened to be right next door, and that's when he sprang into action to rescue those kayakers. 

"Been doing some yard work and I heard the call go out and I looked at the wife," said Thomas Webb, Deputy Chief Operations. "And she said just be careful and took the tools out of my hand."

That's all it took for Deputy Chief Thomas Webb to dive into action after the call came in that two kayakers, a man and a woman, needed help after their kayaks overturned out on Burton Creek at the end of Harding Street. The tide was coming in and only the woman had on a lifejacket. 

"So I grabbed her and pulled her over and told her to hang on to the marsh grass. And then I swam over to the young man and got him. I put him on my side and held on to the rope and they guys did all the work and pulled us back over to the dock," said Webb. 

Burton Firefighters at the scene reeled them back to safety with a 100-foot rescue rope. 

As a member of South Carolina's Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team, Webb says he's rescued even the strongest swimmers from similar situations with quick moving tides. 

He says having life jackets are critical for anyone planning to be out in the water. 

"They're not just a regulation that DNR requires, they're a must. That's the cheapest insurance policy you can have, whether you're just floating around the water or in a boat to save your life," said Webb.

Now the safety message is what Burton Fire officials want folks to take away from this rescue. They say most of the time when they get these calls, they're actually recoveries, and not rescues.

Safety is key, especially as we head into the summertime when more people will be out there on the water. 

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