Abbey Meck, a junior at SLVHS, recently made headlines due to her heroic rescue of a woman, Sofia Benbahmed, in Davenport. While studying with friends she noticed chaos down on the shore. A woman was being pulled out to sea by a strong rip current. Noticing the friends of the woman panicking, quick-thinking Meck ran down to Benbahmed and helped coach her out of the water.
Thanks to Meck’s nearly ten years of experience as a junior lifeguard she was able to help the woman back to shore safely.
“The rip current pulled her out and she was panicking,” said Meck. She reminds anyone stuck in a rip current that, “It’s really important not to panic if you’re in that situation.”
The two returned to the shore bruised and cut from the rocks in the impact zone. Both were dazed and unsteady, but came out fine. “The woman was badly hurt, but didn’t have any serious injuries. She did throw up after coming out of the ocean due to swallowing so much salt water.” said Meck.
Later, the women wrote a post on Craigslist under the Missed Connections tab. The ad was able to connect Benbahmed with her “life-saver,” as she described Meck in the post.
Meck’s mother found the post after it was shared on Facebook and showed it to Meck, who was both humbled and flattered. The two women were able to speak online and meet in real life.
This is not Meck’s first time in the spotlight— the SLVHS student is also known for her impressive track and cross country results. Meck’s mother told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that she was amazed with her daughter and is “really glad she did junior guards.”
Earlier in the year, another teen saved an adult from drowning in Santa Cruz when Bennett Bryans saved a Scotts Valley local. There was also an event in January when several UCSC students were swept out to sea by the strong current.
Due to El Niño, Northern California has seen dangerous storms and ocean conditions. While more storms are on track to hit the area, the coming of warmer weather should cause the seas to calm and prevent further tragedies.
Meck wants to remind students that, “If you’re caught in a rip current, don’t try to fight it; just swim diagonally until it’s safe to swim back to shore.” She says, I’m lucky that I’m a strong swimmer, and junior guards really helped me with that. I swim basically everyday, and the practice really payed off in that situation.”
By Serena Mendoza