A 23-year-old Belle Harbor man, who, using his surfboard, heroically saved six people during Sandy, died in a surfing accident in Puerto Rico yesterday, according to multiple media reports.
The body of lifeguard Dylan Smith was discovered floating near his surfboard in the waters just off of Maria’s Beach in western Puerto Rican, near Rincon on Sunday morning, police told NBC New York.
Smith was pulled from the water, but attempts to resuscitate him failed. It appears that he drowned, but the U.S. Caribbean territory’s police are investigating his death.
FDNY Chief Michael Light, a family friend who knew Smith his whole life, told the Daily News that Smith went to the popular surfing spot to “unwind” and “blow off some steam.”
“The same sport — the sport of surfing — that he used to save all those people, it’s so shocking that he perished that way,” Light also told the paper.
During the night of Sandy, Smith, along with Michael McDonnell, rescued six of their neighbors trapped on a Beach 130th Street porch as houses around them burned and flood waters surged. Using a homemade rope bridge and surfboard, the pair was able to get them to safety.
Because of their heroics, People magazine named Smith and McDonnell as two of its 2012 Heroes of the Year.