Off-duty firefighter saves 6-year-old's life

Ocean rescue performed at Pierpont Beach

Tracy Lehr, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Reporter, tracy@keyt.com
POSTED: 06:44 PM PDT Jun 21, 2013    UPDATED: 09:08 PM PDT Jun 21, 2013 
VENTURA, Calif. -

Oxnard Fire Captain Alex Hamilton took one of his sons to the beach Wednesday and ended up saving another boy's life.

Hamilton and his son were on the jetty at Pierpont Beach, near Pierpont Elementary School, when they noticed a boy in a life vest in distress.

The boy's brother had a soft-top surfboard nearby, but couldn't get to him.

Hamilton told his son to sit on the rocks while he jumped in.

In a matter of seconds, a riptide had pulled 6-year-old Elliott toward the end of the jetty.

His mother, Amber Starr-Sage, said she felt helpless on the beach. She went to the jetty to watch Hamilton's son.

Hamilton put Elliott under his arm and swan to to shores where the Ventura boy caught his breath and settled down.

Starr-Sage posted a thank you note on Facebook, but she plans to do more.

Hamilton plans to invite the family to Oxnard Fire Station 2, where he works.

Now that summer has begun, Hamilton said it's important to teach your kids how to swim and to take them to beaches with lifeguards on duty.

As a trained ocean rescue swimmer for his fire department, he said people should stay calm in a rip current and try to swim in a 45 degrees angle away from the riptide.

Once you're in calmer waters, you can swim safety to shore.