Seal Beach Surfers Rescue Fellow Surfer Who Had Seizure In Water

I'll say it now, Derek Smith and Roy Poblete are heroes! Nice job guys and way to act quickly!

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OC Surfer Rescued

George Romero (center) with his rescuers. Photo courtesy OC Register.

George Romero doesn't remember anything. During his first interview Tuesday morning – just a day out of the hospital – he was hearing for the first time what happened after he had blacked out and went underwater Sunday afternoon. This was his first meeting with the two surfers who came to his rescue after an unexpected seizure hit.

Occasional tears came to his eyes as he heard the surfers – Smith and Roy Poblete – recall the story, walking away for moments to regain his composure.

By Smith's guess, Romero had been under water anywhere between 45 seconds and a minute before he was able to reach Romero's lifeless body. He pulled his head up from the water to see Romero's eyes rolled back, foam coming out of his mouth. His body was going into convulsions, and he wasn't breathing.

Smith – even at a hefty 6 feet, 4 inches and 235 pounds – had trouble keeping Romero above water. He called out for help, and tried to get Romero on his board. Poblete quickly paddled over to see what was happening.

Then the sets came in, three in a row. They dived Romero under the first wave, then Smith cut his leash to get his board out of the way, so he could hang on tight to George. Smith would submerge underwater, to push up on Romero's body to keep his head from going under so he wouldn't take in more water.

"I knew if I let you go, you would have gone," he tells Romero. "I was just thinking 'hold onto this guy, hold onto this guy'."

"Thanks for holding onto me, brother," he tells Smith as he heard the story Tuesday morning.