Dylan Smith, a New York lifeguard who helped rescue six people during Hurricane Sandy, drowned in a surfing accident off Puerto Rico Sunday.
Smith, 23, was discovered off Maria's Beach, in Rincon, Puerto Rico, reports The Associated Press. Reports indicate that Smith drowned in a surfing accident. A Rincon resident spotted his body in the water and brought him to shore. A doctor was unable to resuscitate Smith, reports AP, and police are investigating the exact cause of death.
Smith was a resident of Queens, reports the New York Daily News.
Smith risked his own safety to help stranded residents of the Rockaways during Hurricane Sandy. Smith, along with another individual, made an improvised bridge using ropes, electrical wire and twine attached to Smith's surfboard. The hero lifeguard used the rope bridge to rescue six people who were trapped on a porch, notes the Daily News.
Due to this act, People named Smith one of its 2012 Heroes of the Year.
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Smith also helped in recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy, helping to clean up and rebuild homes, reports the Daily News. Fire Chief Michael Light, a family friend of Smith who had known him his entire life, said, “The same sport — the sport of surfing — that he used to save all those people, it’s so shocking that he perished that way,” reports the Daily News.
Smith was on vacation in Puerto Rico hoping to relax following the stress in the wake of Sandy, notes Daily News. Speaking to the paper after his fame, he said, “I don’t think I’m a hero. Absolutely not. I just did what I was trained to. I’m a lifeguard. I surf. This is what I do.”