SAN DIEGO – Two Arizona teenagers are getting national recognition for a July 2020 rescue that took place in San Diego.
According to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, Zachary Johnson Haugen and Jake Vageli Watson of Scottsdale, Arizona saved the lives of 18-year-old Thanya Huerta and an 11-year-old girl who had been swept into the Pacific Ocean from a cove at Sunset Cliffs.
Haugen, a member of his high school swim team, jumped into the water from a cliff and swam to the pair, pulling them in from the five-foot waves out at sea. After a large wave separated the teenager from the two girls, Haugen called out to Watson, who jumped into the water, placed the young girl on his back, and led Huerta to a ledge, where he held onto her until lifeguards were able to arrive and assist in the rescue.
Watson and Haugen then helped the lifeguards complete the rescue and safely evacuate the water.
The teenagers will each receive the Carnegie Medal, which is awarded to individuals in the United States and Canada who exemplify bravery by entering “extreme danger while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.”
Haugen and Watson will both receive a financial grant thanking them for their actions.