A member of the Royal Antiguan police officer and Dominican living in Antigua and Barbuda-Corporal Raul “Greg” Grell-is being heralded as a hero four days after he saved the life of a drowning 80-year-old man.
While coming in from a round of fishing around 5 a.m., the officer said he heard a woman crying out for help. The officer rushed to the scene where he saw the head of a male figure who was struggling to stay afloat as he observed it bobbing up and down in the water.
“I didn’t hesitate. I just dived into the water immediately to his direction fully clothed and swam to him, he told OBSERVER Radio on Tuesday.
The officer said that he approached the elderly man from the back and grabbed him around his waist and pulled him to the surface of the water.
He explained that the man was so elated, the officer said, that he grabbed onto me, “and as he held onto me, [I had to tell him] to relax.”
Corporal Grell said that the man could not swim, so the officer had to tow him to shore.
“I put his hand around my waist and I told him ‘don’t panic, I got you’.”
The elderly man and his wife were on a boating excursion early that morning. At the docks, with his wife piloting the boat, the man attempted to reverse a two-door SUV to load the boat onto the trailer attached.
According to Corporal Grell, after the man had properly loaded the boat onto the trailer, he mistakenly kept the vehicle in reverse and accelerated, which subsequently launched the boat and the van into the water near the shore.
While the SUV was sinking, Grell said that the elderly man managed to come out of the vehicle.
Apart from the obvious initial shock from the ordeal, the man was not physically hurt.
This rescue, however, was not Corporal Grell’s first such heroic deed. The officer recalled another such instance in his hometown Dominica over 17 years ago.
He described rescuing a couple whose vessel had capsized. The duo also could not swim and thus Grell had to tow both of them safely to shore.