Three Israeli surfers went to the aid of eight children struggling in the waters
off Hawaii on Saturday, Channel 2 television reported, after huge waves began
surging toward the coast. The three – Tzvika Elias, Yair Naftali and Gabi Liptz
– were hailed as heroes by the children’s parents.
“We had gone to a
remote beach half an hour from Honolulu,” 30-year-old Elias, who lives in New
York, told Channel 2. “The waves there were high, huge breakers about four
meters high, and as the minutes past, the waves got stronger and even
Elias and his friends then saw a group of children aged between
12 and 14 who had gotten into difficulties in the water.
“As we neared
the children we saw that they had been swept out to sea and were being pounded
by the huge waves,” he told Channel 2.
“On the shoreline we saw the
mothers watching powerless as their children were drowning in front of them.
Yair and I, who were at that point together in the water, tried with all our
might to reach the group to try to get them away from the strong
The conditions worsened, but the Israelis did not give up,
Channel 2 said.
“Every time we managed to grab hold of one child, he was
immediately swept away again,” Elias said. “At a certain point, Gabi, who had
already left the water, joined our attempts and managed to catch hold of some of
the kids and get them safely to shore.”
Naftali, who lives in Honolulu,
told Channel 2 that it took 40 exhausting minutes to rescue all of the
“In the distance we saw the local emergency services arriving
to help with the rescue,” he said, “but because the waves were so high, all they
could do was watch as we tried to get the children out of the water.”