A man heading to the beach to read a book and an off-duty lifeguard were both in the right place at the right time when a diver ran into trouble with his regulator.
Tim Sagen was getting a few things out of his car when he noticed two divers in in Mission Bay Friday around 10:30 a.m. One disappeared and the other started waving for help. Sagen spotted fluorescent green flippers pointing straight up in the water so he stripped down and ran to help pull the man to shore.
"I looked in the water and I saw his face six feet down, floating and I reached in, flipped him up to get his head above water," said Sagen. "And the race was on to get him back to shore."
The diver weighed about 200 lbs, was wearing a lot of dive gear and was full of water so pulling him to shore was difficult so Sagen started calling for more help.
Off-duty lifeguard Douglas Smith heard his calls for help and knew what to do. He grabbed his cell phone and called lifeguard dispatch tower to get medics to the scene.
Smith and Sagen got the diver to shore, got the man's wetsuit open and started CPR right away.
It took about five minutes before on-duty lifeguards arrived to help get the water out of the man and get air into him.
In hindsight, Smith said he believes his quick reaction is a testament to the training he’s received as a lifeguard.
“It’s second nature,” Smith said. “You get to him and you know exactly what to do.”
“I’m a little frazzled,” he said mentioning that it was only the fourth or fifth time he administered CPR on a patient. “It’s nothing you get used to.”
"It's scary but your adrenaline kicks in," said Sagen. "If you're out there you want someone to come and get you."
The two divers started off on a dive in shallow water and were moving towards Ventura Cove, according to lifeguards. While en route, the man started to have issued with his regulator going into freeflow. The two surfaced and made the decision that the equipment could not be fixed so the diver having the trouble started to make his way to shore, lifeguards said.
No word on the diver's condition as of 4 p.m. Friday.