Fire captain visiting South Florida jumps into action, saves man from drowning

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Krissy McCorkel and her boyfriend Jamie Smith, a fire captain in St. Paul, Minn., were kayaking near Fort Lauderdale when they decided to stop at a sandbar.

It was Thursday, Sept. 10, and as the couple started chatting with a group of boaters, Smith noticed a member of the group’s party was far off the sandbar and clearly in distress.

“What had happened (was) he let the current push him off the edge of the sandbar so he got to a point where he could no longer touch the bottom — the current was taking him further out and he couldn’t swim,” Smith said.

Smith immediately went into action.

“I grabbed a life jacket off the kayak — because I knew one of us was going to need a life jacket, for sure — and I proceeded to swim out a good 40 yards. It kept getting further out because every time the tide would come in, it would push him away from the sandbar,” Smith said.

Ironically, Smith and McCorkel shouldn’t have even been in South Florida at the time.

“We were supposed to leave on Wednesday but our flight got cancelled so we rescheduled to Friday,” Smith said.

The couple has decided to stick around for a special “Hero’s Boat Parade" over the weekend.

Although today Smith is a hero himself, he said: ”I don’t see it that way, I just did what I could."

About the Authors:

Nicole Perez is the the primary co-anchor of Local 10 News at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. She first joined Local 10 in July 2016 as the morning traffic reporter.

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.