Martell's Staff Rescues Boy from Rough Surf in Point Beach

Employees save a boy caught in a rip current


Martell’s server Nick Haines never imagined he would go swimming in the ocean while red flags were out on Saturday.

Haines, a former lifeguard of eight years, was serving tables when he noticed people gathering on the beach, looking out towards the ocean, at about 6 p.m., which was about half an hour after lifeguards went off duty. Haines saw a swimmer bobbing in the ocean and getting pulled out further and further.

“I saw him bobbing in the ocean, so I took off my apron and told one of the other servers to get the torpedo,” Haines said.

Haines opened one of the windows on the side of Martell’s Tiki Bar and jumped down to the beach. He ran towards the group and removed his uniform. He started to swim out to the victim and, as he swam, another beachgoer was swimming back.

“I swam past this guy who had started out to save the boy, but he couldn’t make it and was swimming back to shore,” Haines said. “He had a look of defeat as he swam back. Once I passed the break, I saw the boy about 50 yards out.”

Harry DiCorcia, Director of Security at Martell's, said the incident took place about 200 yards south of Martell’s pier in Point Beach. As Haines swam out towards the victim, who is a 12-year-old from Guttenburg, NJ, another server swam out behind Haines.

Matt Inman, also a former lifeguard, who serves tables at Martell’s, grabbed the lifeguard torpedo, shed his uniform and jumped into the ocean.

“When I got to him, he was struggling to stay above water. I gave him one good Heimlich maneuver and he coughed up water. He tried to bear hug me, but I was able to get him into the rescue position,” Haines said. “I held him with one arm, while trying to signal towards shore with the other. We must have floated there for about three minutes, but it felt like an hour.”

Haines said he could finally see a figure moving towards him and realized it was Inman with a lifeguard torpedo.

“When Matt arrived, he let the kid use the torpedo and started talking to him. He asked the kid what his name was and the kid said his name was Justin,” Haines said. “He just kept talking to Justin while we floated there, regaining our energy.”

As they took some time to recharge for the swim back to shore, a third member of Martell’s staff, a bartender, had grabbed a lifeguard long-board and was headed in. Joe Przybysz fought waves for roughly ten minutes before he was able to get past the breaking surf.

“I grabbed the rescues board and started out towards them. It was nearly impossible with the ten-foot board,” Przybysz said. “As I saw them, they were already swimming back to shore, so I swam around behind them and followed them in.”

As the group reached shore they were met by Jim Howell and Paul Phillips, two of Martell’s security staff.

“I saw the bartender grab a rescue board and run towards the ocean and there were a lot of people watching the ocean,” Howell said. “As they came in, I saw Joe getting banged around and Matt holding the kid on the torpedo. Me and Paul ran in and helped pull them out.”

Once on shore, Przybysz, a former EMT, started to check the victim for injury.

“Point Beach EMT and police did an excellent job. Once I informed them I was an EMT, they let me do my thing. I told them to get me an oxygen tank and we strapped him down to a board,” Przybysz said. “Once he was set with the oxygen, we carried him up to the ambulance and they took over.”

Point Beach Police and Point Pleasant First Aid and Emergency Squad treated and transported the victim to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune for treatment. 

According to Point Beach Sergeant Gerald Quaglia, the boy is doing OK.

“That was a job well done by the staff of Martell’s,” Quaglia said. “As far as we know, he’s doing fine.”

After the rescue, all members of Martell’s staff went back to work in wet pants and were greeted with applause from both guests and co-workers.

"We would like to congratulate Nick, Matt, Joe, Paul and Jim for an excellent job. We feel extremely fortunate to have such dedicated, responsible and fearless staff members who risked their own lives in an effort to save another,” DiCorcia said. 

Staff members at Martell’s noted that people should not go into the ocean when there are red flags posted and also when lifeguards are not on duty.

“I had faith Matt was coming out after us, but I still should have grabbed a torpedo before heading out,” Haines said. “I saved Justin’s life, and Matt saved both of our lives. If he didn’t show, I would have drowned. Matt’s my hero and I also want to give thanks to Joe.”

Miriam Rankin Kelly July 23, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I am overwhelmed by this story. Justin's family was spared the horror of losing a son, brother, cousin -- and whatever other title he may hold as a part of his family. His family has no idea the torment they would have faced if he didn't make it. I am so pleased this family was spared it. I am so very very proud of these LOCAL guys -- way to go!! I agree with the other comment -- I can speak for Matt Inman - lifeguarded for many years and now working at local restaurants. I can bet that each of these heroes has great respect for the ocean -- you've grown up practically on it -- The out-of-towners just don't give this awesome force of nature its just due. WAY TO GO GUYS. Miriam Kelly
meem July 23, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Outstanding...I am so touched by this story...God Bless all of you... you were all so brave.. You are true HERO'S !!!!!!
Joseph Woolston Brick July 23, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Martells always seems to hire the best staffers. Wonderful and kind people and this story shows it!
M.O.D. July 23, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Great job team!
Dolores Whalen July 23, 2012 at 05:34 PM
This is such an amazing story of compassion and teamwork. These guys risked their lives to save another. May God Bless you.
dcnj July 23, 2012 at 05:37 PM
This story truly touches my heart. I am so happy for Justin and his family. All the men in this story are super heroes! Way to go! And good job Martells for acknowledging your amazing staff.
E.Nagle Moylesworth III July 23, 2012 at 05:46 PM
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It's good to know when someone needs immediate, 'no time to waste' help- we have capable people amongst us. Think of all the happiness that came from this close call. Justin, his family, the rescue swimmers, and all others involved, can say Thank God and the good fortune to have good people on scene. A major Atta-Boy!
Maureen July 23, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Outstanding..Now this is newsworthy!!
Mike Corbally July 23, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Nice job! A great story about guys using their skills and instinct to save a life.
JosephGhabourLaw July 23, 2012 at 06:16 PM
What a heroic act, and amazing foresight. Despite being restaurant staff, they had a rescue torpedo on hand, to back up the hero swimming out.
erin reilly July 23, 2012 at 08:39 PM
where is matts pix he is noted as the main hero..is that the same matt inman who did the heimlic on an elderly woman last august at the trx
Cathy Kelly July 23, 2012 at 09:08 PM
What a great story, These guys are true heroes....
ILOVEMAYORBARRELLA July 23, 2012 at 10:12 PM
These two guys should be proud of themselves. They should be recognized by council, a bravery award. They were unselfish to risk their life to save another human being. They saved a young boys life and spared the entire family of tragedy.
momof4 July 23, 2012 at 11:27 PM
This is the kind of " Jersey Shore " story that I love to hear! As a beach lover & the Mom of 3 children who love the beach it is so important to respect the ocean and follow the rules. Local or Tourist, I have seen just as many locals jump in for a swim or try and catch some waves after hours. This just comes down to safety. Be smart, thankfully this story ended well but it just as easily could have ended with the loss of not only that 12 yr old boy but the brave men that risked their lives to save him!
2much2say July 24, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Such Brave men! This story is extremely touching, it's awesome to know there are still hero's in this world. I hope the child & parents realize you can't mess with mother nature. Lifeguards are here for a reason. Brave Men
2much2say July 24, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Brave men well done!!
2much2say July 24, 2012 at 01:42 AM
This story is very touching. It's great to know that we still have heroes in this world we live in. Great Job ~I~ Child & Parents learn you cannot play with mother nature. We have lifeguards for a reason!!!
Charlaine Emanueli July 24, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Brave caring guys, to do something so for this kid! Hope the boys parents are greatful for these guys bravery and knowledge!
Deb Clarke July 24, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Wow! God bless these men, heros. With all the tragic things we see in the news, this was so uplifting to read. Great job guys!!!
Love The Shore July 24, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Each town should impose a hefty fine if anyone goes into the ocean after hours and needs to be rescued. Yes, God bless the volunteers who helped the little boy but, they, too, were in danger. Wise up and keep our beaches safe.
Freetobeyouandme July 24, 2012 at 04:32 PM
In addition to their heroism, the rescuers are to be commended for their candor in detailing how even those with extensive experience can be affected by the tides. It should never be forgotten that every rescue has inherent dangers. Great team work yields great results!
E.Nagle Moylesworth III July 24, 2012 at 05:29 PM
the key word is private property. Town does not own the beach, private citizens made the rescue. PP First Aid is volunteer. Police were already on duty. No expense. It's penalty enough to suffer the loss of a family member. There are already too many rules and regulations about everything we do.
Full Timer July 25, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Can't be done unless they close the beaches . The town and private entrepreneurs only own the property up to the "mean" hide tide line. In others words, anyone swimming or standing at water's edge is no longer on town or private property and exempt from any action by the beach owners.
somebody July 25, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I don't care who's property it is on or who may or may not be responsible. I am just happy it ended the way it did. Great team work and courage.
M Menendez July 26, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Jane, are you related to Jay Reynolds?
M Menendez July 26, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Jane, are you related to Jay and Carl Reynolds of Pt. Pleasant beach?
Jane Reynolds July 26, 2012 at 09:29 PM
OMG!! Mike is that you??? Jay and I just talked about you!!! He was wondering how he would find you...call!
Ben July 26, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Great job guys. respect
M Menendez July 27, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Wow!!! Yes, it is Mike. What are the odds of finding you guys here. So glad you and Jay are well. Would love to call and catch up. Still in pt pleasant I'm guessing?
Jane Reynolds July 28, 2012 at 01:28 PM
yes we are still in point. longpoint3@comcast.net r u still in jersey?


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