Ohio man's rescue of mother and son, 10, at North Carolina beach caught on drone footage

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An 18-year-old Ohio man was being praised for saving a mother and her 10-year-old son at a North Carolina beach over the Fourth of July weekend – in a rescue that was caught on video. 

Travis Shrout of Stow, near Cleveland, said he had swum out pretty far at Topsail Beach where his family was vacationing on July 3 when he noticed the woman and her son struggling in the water, FOX 8 of Cleveland reported. 

Shrout’s family had gotten out of the water but family friend Thad Unkefer wanted to test his drone’s tracking features, so Shrout decided to get back in, he told the station. 

Unkefer posted the video on YouTube after the rescue. 

“I thought I heard ‘Help!’ but it was such a weird situation. I said, ‘Are you alright?’ and she said, ‘No,'” Shrout told the Akron Beacon Journal about spotting the mother and her son. “I immediately started swimming out to her.” 

He told FOX 8 when he first started talking to the mother her son was right next to her but “by the time I got to her, he was sucked out probably 15 feet. It’s just crazy how fast that current was moving.”

He said his YMCA lifeguard training kicked in and he gave the mother the bodyboard he had been using while he went to get her son. No lifeguards were on the beach at the time, he said. 

“I just started swimming as fast as I could out to the 10-year-old boy,” he told FOX 8. “He was going up and down in the water. He had probably gone down about four or five times.” 

Shrout told the boy to lean back while he got underneath and held up the boy’s body. Shrout quickly brought the boy back to his mother and the bodyboard. 

“There was a couple of waves that came over our heads and I didn’t know how many more of those waves were gonna come,” he told FOX 8. “They completely submerged all of us. So, that was kind of scary.”

At one point, he told them they should just hold onto the bodyboard and float because they didn’t seem to be getting much closer to shore. “We’re not in any immediate danger anymore. You know, we can get in,” Shrout said he told the pair. 

When they got closer to shore another man, Andrew Leonard, brought out a second bodyboard and helped pull them in, the Beacon Journal reported. 

“I was exhausted that last couple of meters in that push,” Shrout told FOX 8. “I don’t think I would have been able to bring them out without that.” 

He said he had already been swimming for one to two hours before the rescue.

“I was watching him, and I stood up to tell him to come in because he was getting too far out and I couldn’t figure out why he was swimming out so far,” his mother, Gretia Grayson Shrout, who was watching the scene from the shore, said. “Then I saw the splashing and we realized what was going on. Your instinct as a mom is to jump in and help your kid, but I know I’m not a strong enough swimmer to do that. I just had to watch. It was a completely helpless feeling.” 

 She told the Beacon Journal the rescued mother immediately gave Shrout a hug when they were on the shore. “She was crying and she said, ‘God put Travis there to save us because we were dying.’” 

Shrout is expected to receive a proclamation from the Stow, Ohio, city council at the end of the month. 

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