A South Korean family is thanking the bystanders who came to their son’s aid after he was nearly swept out to sea while playing in the surf in Oahu, Hawaii.
Cellphone video shows eight-year-old Ryon Kim playing in the surf on Sunset Beach on Oahu’s north shore Sunday afternoon as his family looks on.
One moment, it’s a harmless bit of beach fun – but when Ryon’s grandfather motions for him to get out, the boy seemingly struggles against the powerful current before losing his footing and being pulled under.
“I thought maybe my son was going to die,” Ryon Kim’s mother Yura told CBS News. “Everything turned to the light and everything turned to like, heaven.”
Screams of panic can be heard as Kim’s family rushes to his aid. Joining them are several bystanders who responded to the cries for help.
“The minute I saw the second wave come, that’s when I got up and I started sprinting,” one of the bystanders, Hawaii native Christopher Tuncap, told HawaiiNewsNow. “”I dived in right when he disappeared.”
“I was so scared because I’m not only thinking about saving him, but what’s going to happen if I get dragged in?”
As quickly as it began, it was over – another bystander managed to get hold of the boy, and together the crowd is able to move him back to dry land.
Sunset Beach is a well-known surfing destination in the winter months, known for its big waves and powerful surf.
Yura Kim told local media that her son swallowed a lot of salt water but was otherwise all right.
In fact, the video only surfaced when Yura approached local news outlets with the video, trying to get in touch with the strangers who rushed to her son’s aid.
“I’d like to say thank you and I’d like to express my gratitude to them,” Kim said.
While the full crowd has not been identified, Tuncap told HawaiiNewsNow that he’s not looking for any sort of recognition.
“We’re just people from Hawaii, we’re not heroes,” said Tuncap.
“We saw what needed to be done and we went and we got him and that’s all the matters.”
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