JUPITER, Fla. – On Friday, a boater nearly drowned after his vessel overturned at the Jupiter Inlet.
He was rescued by none other than a 13-year old boy surfing nearby. And the whole thing was caught on camera.
Most days, you’ll find 13-year-old Sam Ruskin with his surf board.
“I’ve been surfing for 9 years,” said Sam, who surfs often with friends and family at Jupiter Beach Park.
But those surf skills were put to the ultimate test on Friday when a boat capsized from rough waters at the Jupiter Inlet, just yards away from where Ruskin was catching some waves.
“It’s kind of scary. If you go too far past the jetty, you can get sucked in,” Sam said of the Inlet, which has seen its share of tragedies.
Nearly a year ago, two boaters died when their vessel capsized near the Inlet.
That’s why Kevin Cadby — a local videographer and boat enthusiast — brings out his drone camera to capture boat traffic and surf when the waves are large. He posts his videos on his Youtube page and Instragram.
On Friday, Cadby captured the 20-foot boat was no match for the rough seas brought about by the wind. In the video, you can see a man without a life vest pop out of the sinking vessel.
That’s when Sam said he sprang into action.
“I paddled out to where he was, and I gave him my surfboard and paddled next to him back to shore,” he said. “He definitely would have drowned if he lost his breath or didn’t make it back to shore.”
The video has soared in popularity on Facebook in just one day, already viewed nearly over 50,000 times on two different video posts.
“I think it kind of spread like crazy. It’s kind of cool,” Sam joked.
Sam’s father, Ryan Ruskin, said he didn’t know the seriousness of the rescue until he saw the video.
“He told me what happened on Friday and then he asked what’s for dinner,” said Ryan. “I’m super proud, it’s a big deal and I didn’t know what a big deal it was until I saw the video on Sunday morning.”
Ryan said Friday’s incident highlights a real danger boaters face at the inlet.
“I’m just glad [the boater] is OK. It’s very dangerous there. If he didn’t make it out of the Inlet — there’s other boats there — he could’ve gotten sucked up into the jetty or run over,” he said.
Sam says he got a thank you from the boater but didn’t catch his name. His father hopes others will see this as an inspiration to put others first.
“To have the courage to put yourself out there like that, without thinking about it for a minute, and potentially saving someone’s life. That’s a big deal,” said Ryan. “For him to jump off his board and hand it to a stranger and save him, swim and put himself in danger — I’m very proud.”