Off-duty Police officer rescues Hawaii swimmer in distress - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Off-duty Phoenix Police officer rescues Hawaii swimmer in distress

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Guillermo Arrubla Guillermo Arrubla

By Vanessa Stewart, FOX News

HONOLULU -- From the stunningly beautiful cliffs to the deep blue sea and white foam -- it's no wonder people are drawn to this area off of Portlock.

Thrill seekers also come here chancing their luck - hoping the spitting caves won't swallow them up.

Guillermo Arrubla thought about jumping in when he went here on Saturday afternoon, but "Once we got here, we saw how bad the current was so at that point, you know, I decided we're not jumping but we're going to sit here and just spectate."

So he watched the cliff jumpers -- and he noticed one woman in particular was having a hard time getting back up onto the rocks.

"When she tried to climb up onto the rocks, the current pushed on her then pulled her back out," he said.

One of the woman's friend's jumped in, but couldn't get to her because the waves were just too powerful.  Guillermo then made his way climbing down the cliff with two life jackets in hand.

"20 years ago, I used to be a lifeguard, so I was confident in swimming in this water, so I put on the life jacket and grabbed the other one, and told him I'll swim out to her and give her this life jacket."

When he got to the woman, he says she looked exhausted.

"She had been treading water approximately 25 minutes at that point."

He gave her the life jacket -- and they waited for emergency crews to arrive, hoping the sharks wouldn't get to them first.

"That's all I kept thinking about, I was like.. I'm gonna get eaten by a shark here."

Help finally arrived and they made it back to dry land. The woman he rescued is in her 20's and lives at Schofield.

"My thing was I saw a lot of people with cell phones out and I was like I'm not going to sit here and watch a young girl drown."

On Sunday, city lifeguards presented Guillermo with an award.

"We gave the award because a good citizen risked his own life to save the life of another," said Lt. Junior Sloane of the Ocean Safety Division.

Turns out Guillermo is a police officer in Phoenix, Arizona, so he puts its life at risk to protect the public on a daily basis.

In addition to taking home his award, he's also leaving with a few cuts he got while rescuing the woman.

He says the woman was grateful.

"When we got to there, she wanted to give me a hug, but I was bleeding.. I know people and so I gave her a half hug and she was like thank you so much."

Those cliff diving caves are not manned by lifeguards and they discourage people from swimming there in the first place.

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