Drowning victim who died saving friends hailed as hero
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Friends of a South Florida man who gave his life to rescue them from rip currents over the weekend are hailing him a hero.
Twenty-three-year-old Anthony Jervis joined seven of his friends in the water off Fort Lauderdale Beach Sunday evening to wash sand off their feet after playing football. By that time, the lifeguards were already gone for the day, and the victims did not heed the red warning flags alerting them of rip currents. "The waves were bigger, and they were hitting us harder," said Timothy Cornelius, "and one of us, she got pushed out."
"Me and Jenay were both under water at the time," confirmed Heidi Bartels, one of the two women Jarvis rescued. "She was trying to get above the water ... and then Anthony came and was trying to lift both of us out of the water. [We were] completely underwater, completely."
Bartels then said she felt her friend's hands pushing her to safety. "Then, I remember a shove. Like, I just got shoved to shore, while Jenay is on my back," she said, "and I looked back to see if Anthony was right beside me, and he was there. Right then, when I looked behind me, a huge wave came over, and I didn't see him anymore. I guess that's when the undertow had took him, and I remember him saying, 'Just go.'"
Cornelius said he attempted to pull Jervis out of the water but was unable to come to his aid. "Always helped that person, he always helped someone out," he said. "For someone to always help somebody out, and at one point need help and not get it, and I did everything I could, that's all I''m saying."
"He's our hero; he's our Superman," said Bartels.
Lifeguards saved 41 people out of the water Sunday on the same spot where Jervis drowned.
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