Lincoln student dives in to help

A Jefferson City resident says he was simply doing what he thought would come naturally to most people when he helped save people from drowning in rip currents in South Carolina earlier this month.

Danny Eveler, 20, is a student at Lincoln University and was playing in a collegiate summer baseball league.

“We got rained out, but the weather got better so we could go to the beach,” Eveler said. “We were having a good time when somebody said ‘Call 911’ and we did.”

In an instant, the tranquil scene turned chaotic, as vacationers playing in the surf were caught in a rip current — a channel of water that moves from the shore out to sea, often faster than any human can swim.

“We saw a lady had been pulled out and was unconscious and heard others may be out there,” Eveler said. “We saw one guy that others were trying to get in so we helped. One of my buddies said ‘Are we going out there?’ and I said, ‘Well, yeah, obviously.’”

Danny started to pull in a man who had gone in to try and help, later identified as a judge, but handed him off to his buddies, Garrett McKenzie from Oklahoma and Matt Swartz from Texas, while Danny went back and rescued the judge’s son.

“Me and Matt swam out there and found a young boy,” Eveler said. “The man was unconscious in the water and we got a boogie board and took the man in. Meanwhile the boy jumps on my shoulders because he couldn’t swim anymore. So Garrett and Matt took the man, and I took the kid.”

Two days before they left, Danny had to help another man get out of the water who had been taken in by a rip current, and the man survived.

South Carolina officials are looking at whether lifeguards or warning flags are needed in the area.

“I was shocked they didn’t have the flag system,” Eveler said. “My family has vacationed in Florida and they had the flag system that would tell you what was going on. I thought it was strange this place didn’t have them. It was like ‘swim at your own risk.’”

Danny said he wasn’t looking for any pats on the back, he just did what we though had to be done.

“Wouldn’t you hope somebody would help you if you were drowning?” Eveler said. “I didn’t think twice, honestly.”

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