We saw a whale breaching but unfortunately he wouldn’t cooperate by posing for a picture. So while we were taking in all this fun we noticed a couple of people hanging on a surf board pretty far out in the water. We watched for a while and noticed a man – who turned out to be a very fit lifeguard – swim out to the people. And then the rescue began.
Helicopters are pretty common here in Rio – they take tourists around the sites for ridiculously high cost, put out forest fires (see post about Sharon’s visit), and regularly fly up and down the beach on weekends and other crowded beach days watching for swimmers caught in the heavy undertow or surf. Well, on this day, we discovered what they do when they encounter those swimmers (or surfers) who got themselves into trouble.
The rescue helicopter was obviously contacted by the lifeguard crew and flew out and dropped 2 men into the water to help the drifting swimmers.
While the rescue crew assessed the situation and no doubt tried to calm down the swimmers the copter dropped a net contraption into the water.
The rescuer in the water climbed into the basket and brought along one of the swimmers. I’m guessing that the ride wasn’t entirely comfortable but clearly beat the alternative of drifting out to sea.
The copter crew then delivered their cargo to the safety on the beach.
The crowd applauded and one swimmer and rescuer walked away safely.
This process went on three times until all rescuers and swimmers were back on the beach. Then the helicopter rescuers had to rejoin the crew inside the copter so were thrown a line and pulled back up.
These guys are clearly agile, climbing into the copter while the blades continued to turn and stir up the water and sand.
Their work done the helicopter crew headed out – the crowd was by now applauding as if it were a World Cup goal.
And they winged back home……
We returned to our role as beach lovers with cameras…..
And I even managed to get a shot of Richard congratulating the crew.
And the beach returned to being quietly beautiful. Another day in paradise.