3:26 PM PDT, July 25, 2022
Jake Shaffer and Aidan Arie, both 15, happened to be on the beach for a competition when the aircraft came down in front of startled beachgoers.
“I shouted to Aidan, ‘OK, let’s go run,’” Jake said.
“When he said run, my first instinct was to get into the water as fast as I could,” Jake said.
Both teens are members of an elite program for junior lifeguards. One teen grabbed a board and paddled out to the plane. The other swam, racing toward the crash site.
Jake saw that the pilot was in a state of shock.
“It was scary to me in the situation, because he wasn’t responding to me,” Jake said.
Meanwhile, Aidan scanned the perimeter of the plane.
“When I got 15 to 20 feet away from the plane, I just started looking around and making sure the whole scene was safe and everyone was OK, because I knew Jake had the guy handled,” Aidan said.
The boys have been junior lifeguards since they were 9 years old.
“We prepare for all types of rescues and how to cover them, but never a plane crash,” Jake said.
The boys’ moms are very proud of them.
“Neither boy thought twice about running into the water where there was fuel in the water, they just charged ahead to try to save that pilot,” Aidan’s mom said.
Adult lifeguards soon joined the rescue efforts, and the pilot was treated for minor injuries. The plane had been flying an advertising banner when it crashed.
Incredibly, the boys took a quick shower to make sure they didn’t have any jet fuel on them, then continued on with their competition, taking first place in the swim relay race.