“I knew I broke the rules,” said Lopez, who swam out past the buoy marking his patrol zone to help the drowning swimmer. “I told the manager, I’m fired aren’t I?”
Lopez said he jumped into the water and “I double underhooked him…I was worried about the guy and his health. He was blue.”
The incident occurred Monday at Hallandale Beach in southern Florida.
“The reason I was fired is just ridiculous,” Lopez told CNN on Wednesday. “It is a ridiculous rule, really. What was I supposed to do? Just let the guy drown?”
It all happened so fast, Lopez said he doesn’t even know if the man was OK.
“It is killing me. I really want to know what happened to the guy,” he said.
Other sources are reporting that the man was admitted to the ICU at Aventura Hospital.
After the incident, Lopez said his supervisor asked him to fill out an incident report.
“At that point I knew I was going to be fired. I knew had broken the rule,” Lopez said. “In those cases, we are supposed to call 911 and hope they get there in time.”
To make matters worse, six of Lopez’s coworkers said they would have done the same thing…and now, they’ve all been fired too.
What do you think? Should Tomas Lopez have been fired for helping a man in unprotected waters?
Check out more in the video below.
- Florida lifeguard fired after saving drowning man – CNN (edition.cnn.com)
- Fla. lifeguard aids drowning man, gets fired (cbsnews.com)
- Lifeguard Fired for Attempting to Rescue Drowning Man [Rescues] (gawker.com)