A former Hempstead Town lifeguard-turned-cop used his old skills to save a Staten Island woman from drowning off Rockaway Beach in Queens Monday night, according to the NYPD.
The woman, 25, was about 50 yards from the beach during the 7:45 p.m. incident, and there were no lifeguards on duty, a NYPD spokesman said.
William Lauria, 23, an NYPD officer at the 105th Precinct in Queens, said he noticed the woman in distress while on beach duty.
“There were some rough conditions,” Lauria said.
He said he ran down the boardwalk, stripped down to his police-issued uniform shorts and dove in. He was able to help the woman to shore — but not before helping another good Samaritan who had also jumped in the water to try and save the young woman, he said.
“The man who tried to rescue her initially was swept out even further than her,” Lauria said, adding that he then asked for the assistance of a nearby surfer to rescue the good Samaritan. Police did not identify the woman.
Lauria said he has been with the NYPD for a year and a half and comes from a family of cops — but before that, he spent four years as a lifeguard at the Town of Hempstead’s Averill Boulevard Park pool in Elmont.
When asked for advice on how to keep safe this season, Lauria advised people to be cautious on the beach.
“I advise people not to go into the water when there isn’t a lifeguard present,” he said, “and if you’re a strong swimmer, just know your limits and let someone know you’re in the water.”