Off-duty firefighter helps man caught in rip current

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – When Ernie Gorwood noticed two police officers running toward the surf on Fort Lauderdale Beach, his instincts immediately kicked in.

"I went across the sand and I saw a big crowd with their hands up and down, so I ran as fast as I could over there," said Gorwood.

Gorwood, a firefighter with the Broward Sheriff's Office, was off duty Sunday when he saw a young man unconscious on the sand.

"I instructed people to get away and I took over CPR," said Gorwood. "A Fort Lauderdale P.D. officer showed up, I instructed him to set up his BMV, which is a breathing device, and him and I together performed CPR, and we breathed for the victim."

Friends said the 28-year-old victim was simply having fun with a group in the water when they got caught in a rip current.

The 28-year-old went under.

"Whoever saw him in the water pulled him up against the sand so his face and body were full of sand. I cleared his airway, I cleared his face of sand. He aspirated a little bit of ocean water, I got that cleared out and I continued with CPR," said Gorwood.

The victim was rushed to the hospital. His condition wasn't immediately released.

"I don't know what the outcome is," said Gorwood.