MELBOURNE, Fla. – Tyler Brueck and Alex Byrd heard the noise, but they didn’t know exactly what it was right away.
Brueck and Byrd were boogie boarding on Melbourne Beach in Florida on April 7, thinking at the time it was just going to be a normal, relaxing day while on spring break with their lacrosse team from Clarkston High School in Michigan.
It turned out to be anything but normal from the moment they heard the noise.
“We noticed these two kids five to 10 (yards) out to the right of us and we were maybe 50 yards from the shore,” Brueck said. “We heard screaming. We weren’t sure if they were just messing around or what’s happening. After paying closer attention, we hear ‘Help me.’ It was a boy and a girl.”
The kids were caught in a rip current and in need of rescuing, and Brueck and Byrd probably felt they weren't so qualified for the task, considering neither had never had any previous lifeguard training.
But instinct took over and Brueck and Byrd swam toward the children.
Byrd grabbed the boy, while Brueck put the girl in his arm, as both teens initially struggled with the rip current themselves.
“I had her around my one arm and I was trying to swim with the other,” Brueck said. “I knew to swim horizontally, so that’s what I was doing. I was trying to use the waves to propel me forward. It was working and I got to calmer waters and carried her out to shore.”
Once everyone was on shore, came the expected tearful and happy reunion, as the parents of the kids ran up to Brueck and Byrd to offer their appreciation.
“The mom was crying and hugged me and thanked me,” Brueck said. “The dad was in disbelief. He shook my hand and thanked me as well.”
Brueck estimates the age of the boy was 8 and the age of the girl was 6, but they never officially found out because the family left the beach a short time later.
They don’t know where the family was from or if they were on a spring break trip, as well.
“They were probably traumatized,” Brueck said.
Whoever that family is, they’ll likely never forget Brueck and Byrd, who in turn will never forget that day that started off so leisurely.
“We just thought it would be a normal spring break day,” Brueck said.
Clarkston Nation - be proud of these two young men! Alex and Tyler braved a rip tide to save the lives of two young children this weekend. It is something special to be unwavering in the service of others. #OHANA @JeffKosin @CtownAthSec pic.twitter.com/hrixfjGtfa— Clarkston Lacrosse (@ClarkstonLax) April 2, 2019