GEARHART -- Two Lincoln high teens were pulled from the surf Saturday, one of them trapped by a riptide and the second who swam out to help.
John Carey, a junior, was with the school's national champion constitution team for a chaperoned beach trip.
Two girls were past the breakers and appeared to be trapped by the unseen riptide, which pushes swimmers away from the beach.
"I volunteered to go out and I thought it was just gonna be, 'hey, come back to shore," said John, who is also on the Lincoln swim team. "That's not what ended up happening."
One of the girls was able to push through the riptide back to shore. A second, Molly, could not muster the strength. Trained beach swimmers know to swim parallel to the beach to get past a riptide, then swim to shore.
Molly was cold. John said she pulled her hand out of the water and said she could feel nothing. They both remained in place, treading water, sometimes John supporting the both of them.
"It seemed like forever," John said, "but I'm guessing it was about 20 minutes."
The nearest rescue swimmer, Kai Watts, was several miles away, based in Seaside. By the time he reached the beach, and then the teens, he reckoned that Molly had about another five minutes of treading strength left, John, maybe ten.
Both teens recovered, cold but in good health.
"It was a really close call," John's mother Carolyn Marnoch told KGW.
She got the call no parent wants, this one from the team coach. It took a bit for things to register, she said. "I'm sorry to have to give you this call, but John's in the hospital."
Mother now has a new assignment for son -- formal life-saving lessons.
"I don't know what would have happened to her if I hadn't swum out," John said. "I was just glad I was there."