WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — Catherine Parmentier’s husband Gary is being treated at Rhode Island Hospital after a brush with death off the coast of Westerly.
Catherine says her husband’s recovery will take some time, which they now have because a complete stranger jumped into action last Friday.
Catherine was relaxing in the sand at Misquamicut Beach when suddenly a wave of panic washed over the crowd.
“I saw a man dragging another man out of the surf,” she recalled.
Her heart sank when she realized the man being pulled out of the water was her husband.
“He was totally paralyzed,” Catherine added.
The 64-year-old Gary had been out bodysurfing when a wave took him under.
“He kind of remembers blacking out,” Catherine said. “He doesn’t remember how long he was out for but then when he woke up and opened his eyes, all he saw was water.”
“The first thing he thought was, ‘I’m going to be washed out to sea,’” she continued.
That is, until a good Samaritan dove in to help.
“If this man hadn’t helped, my husband would be dead today,” Catherine said.
With everything happening so fast on the shore, Catherine didn’t get a chance to speak to the man who saved Gary.
“I didn’t want to leave my husband…and then I don’t remember seeing him again,” she said.
Now, she and her family are reaching out to the public for help in tracking down their hero so they can formally thank him. They posted the story on Facebook and it’s already been shared more than 13,000 times.