When Nicole Kissel heard fellow 12-year-old Dale Ostrander's cries for help, she turned her boogie board toward the deeper waters of the turbulent Pacific even as her father shouted for her to stop. She pulled Dale onto her board, and the two fought the rip current together, even as she thought, "We're going to die. I can't die like this." Then a rogue wave slammed into them; Nicole managed to climb back on the board, but Dale was pulled under, the AP reports.
Ultimately, with the help of the extra time Nicole bought them, rescuers managed to pull him out of the water, seemingly lifeless. Even so, emergency responders continued performing CPR en route to the hospital, where the boy's pulse returned. Though his parents were preparing themselves for the worst after the Friday incident, Dale opened his eyes Sunday and began talking a bit Monday; doctors warn he will need therapy and could still suffer permanent brain damage. But when he saw Nicole yesterday, he made sure to tell her, "Thank you." (Read more rescue stories.)