highest award presented by USLA to a non-lifeguard is intended
to give due recognition to those who have risked their lives to
an extraordinary degree in a rescue or attempted rescue of another
person (without familial relation to the rescuer). Together, the USLA and CSLSA salute
their bravery, courage, and service to humanity.
2012 Heroic Act Award Recipient:
Phil Castillo - Civilian (former Lifeguard), Newport Beach
On Saturday, May 5, 2012, at 5:45p.m., Phil Castillo was fishing on the 56th Street jetty in Newport Beach when he noticed three individuals struggling in a rip current near 54th Street. Mr. Castillo, a former Newport Beach Lifeguard, recognized that the individuals were in serious danger. Mr. Castillo yelled to another individual to call 911 and then quickly jumped into the ocean to assist the swimmers. As he jumped in, one individual swam to the jetty and began to climb the rocks. Mr. Castillo swam towards the other two swimmers and, once closer to the victims, realized one individual was attempting to stay afloat by pushing down on the other. This was causing the other swimmer to be forced under water. Mr. Castillo recognized this situation from his former lifeguard training and knew this could quickly become a double drowning situation if he didn’t intervene. As he approached the individuals, the panicked swimmer began climbing on top of Mr. Castillo, freeing the other individual who then swam and climbed onto the rock jetty. Mr. Castillo placed the victim in a cross-chest hold position which allows the victim to breathe easier and stay afloat, while reassuring the victim. Mr. Castillo began to swim the person around the rock jetty. At this time, Lifeguard Captain Josh Van Egmond arrived to assist with a rescue buoy to support Mr. Castillo and the victim. Together, Captain Van Egmond and Mr. Castillo pulled the individual ashore. Once ashore, the individual was having trouble standing. Firefighter Paramedics assessed all three patients. Two individuals had minor injuries from climbing the rock jetty, but all declined further treatment.
Due to the quick and heroic actions of Mr. Phil Castillo, two lives were saved at the beach on that May day. Without Mr. Castillo’s actions, this may have been a tragic story for these individuals. For his lifesaving acts, the Newport Beach Fire Department, CSLSA and USLA bestow this Heroic Act Award on Mr. Phil Castillo.
Act Award Recipients
Recipients from California
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