Local teenager speaks after rescuing woman from rip current over the weekend

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 3:42 PM CDT
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ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) -A Saturday afternoon trip to the beach suddenly turned dangerous around 1:30 near the pass in Orange Beach. Racheal Callahan had just made it to the beach when she saw someone struggling in the water.

“I just jumped up, ran out there, and yelled help him,” said Rachel Callahan.

Nineteen-year-old Jacob Ross was at the beach with his girlfriend when he heard the call for help. He says red flags were flying and the surf was rough. But he didn’t hesitate when he heard someone was in trouble.

“I’ve always been told to go help people no matter what the situation is,” said Ross. “Really it was adrenaline that hit me. I just didn’t think about nothing and just jumped as soon as she said that.”

Ross says he’s been swimming since he was four and grew up around the water learning how to deal with dangerous conditions. He says he believes the woman got caught in a rip current, but he was still able to make it out to her.

“I’ve been always told to swim out and swim around and all she did was I told her to grab onto me. She put her arms and legs around me,” said Ross. “I had one arm free and the rest of my legs and I just swam around and swam us back to shore.”

After a few minutes, ross says they were finally able to get back on dry land. He says he stayed with the woman while she caught her breath.

“She was coughing up water and everything. She had no words to say at all,” said Ross. “She was just out of it. She was just sitting there crying almost with her head down trying to catch her breath.”

Ross says after about 25 minutes, she got up and was able to walk away. After all that, he says he’s just happy they were both able to go home safely.

“That’s all that matters. It don’t make me feel any different I mean people can praise me if they want to but it’s just another day and I’m glad she’s alive,” said Ross.

Ross says Callahan reached out to him earlier today and the two were able to speak about what happened and how thankful she was that he was willing to help.