Alison Howard is only 15 years old, but she knew exactly what to do when she heard a faint scream for help coming from the water.
"When I grabbed her up," she recalled, "I said, 'Hold onto the board and I will get you back safe.'"
A gorgeous day at the beach brought trauma and tragedy. On Wednesday, Mary Rudolph's five family members got caught in a rip current at St. Pete Beach.
Alison, who is a certified lifeguard, jumped in the water and rescued two family members.
She never thought twice about it; she just did it.
"I didn't take a break at all. I just kept on going. And that's when I started feeling very tired but my adrenaline kicked in and that's what kept me going the whole time."
Mary Rudolph was grateful and Alison's dad, William Howard, was understandably proud.
"It's just instincts. You got to help people. Some people can't help them, but you can help them," said Howard.
At Clearwater Beach, lifeguard Patrick Brafford says if you're ever caught in a rip current, stay calm and let it take you.
"If this is a current that flows seaward, we want you to swim right or left," he explained. "That way you are going to escape the current. By escaping that current at that time, you can try to swim in towards shore."
If you still can't swim ashore, yell or signal for help.
Alison just happened to be at the right place at the right time to save two lives that day. It's quite a vacation story to share with her friends back home in Sandusky, Ohio.
"I just like to do it. I go out there and I save lives and I feel great that they're safe and I save them,' she added. "And I want to keep doing that."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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