ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) - For the first time, an Encinitas man on Friday met some of the good Samaritans who rescued his wife off Moonlight Beach earlier in the week.
Ted Paul says on Monday afternoon, his wife, 68-year-old Elaine Himelfarb, took to the waters off Moonlight Beach to go boogie boarding.
“She was rediscovering her love of the ocean and water. I gave her a boogie board for a belated birthday on Sunday, and she wanted to test it out the next day,” said Paul.
As she paddled out with her board, three college students from UC-Davis and Oregon State, Sai Sivakumar, Santosh Ramesh and Ryan Sarraf, were swimming about 15 feet away.
“We were about 30 to 40 yards out. The water was around stomach to waist level,” said Sivakumar.
“A huge wave came that was about at the head or even higher,” said Ramesh.
“When we turned back, she was lying face down,” said Sivakumar.
As another boogie-boarder went to alert lifeguards, the three jumped into action.
“I was lifting her legs. Sai and Ryan were from underneath her back,” said Ramesh.
Slowly, they carried her toward the shore. Himelfarb was unconscious and foaming at the mouth.
“We tried to keep her head up while we were also carrying her, and that proved a little more challenging,” said Sivakumar.
Closer to shore, a lifeguard and several others met them and helped them carry her to shore.
On shore, after several minutes of CPR performed by the lifeguard and others, Himelfarb took a few faint breaths.
“Just relief. Thank God,” said Sivakumar.
Himelfarb was taken to a hospital, where she is recovering. Her husband says she suffered no brain damage. Himelfarb did suffer from spinal cord trauma and is dealing with nerve pain in her hands.
Days later the rescue, after some sleuthing on social media, ABC 10News set up a meeting near the beach on Friday morning.
“I'm Ted. You saved my wife's life,” said Paul as met and embraced Sivakumar and Ramesh. Sarref appeared via a video chat.
“I don't know what to say to you three. You saved my world, “ said Paul, who also read from a note from his wife. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget you.”
Paul and the three men did exchange numbers and plan to keep in contact.
"It'a a beautiful thing. Hopefully this will inspire others. When they see someone who needs help, to jump in and help. You never know how much of an impact you will have,” said Paul.