Hans Berg Hansen, a 22-year-old man from Klaksvík in the Faroe Islands, was in Alicante, during the summer, with his girlfriend, Sólrun Larsen. They were staying in his father’s flat, Captain Meinhardt Hansen.
Hans tells his own story –
We spend a lot of our time on the beach. Sólrun loves the sun, but I am not so keen, so I went out swimming to cool down a little.
On the beach there was a lifeguard tower, the warning flag was red and there was a strong current.
After swimming for about half an hour, I decided to return to the beach. Then I felt the current. Every time a wave washed over me I was taken out to sea, so I had to put more effort into my swimming. The current was violent that day.
While swimming I passed a man who looked to be in difficulty. He was lying on his back splashing with his hands and trying to keep his head above water, while the waves washed over him. I decided to swim over to him to try to find out what could be wrong.
Then I heard him yelling the name Eleana three times, she was also swimming. Then he yelled a word that I didn´t understand, so I swam over to him and asked him in English, if he needed help. But he obviously didn´t understand what I said. But I stretched out my hand and he took it immediately. It was then that I realised the man was in a really bad physical situation
I put my arms around him and tried to swim towards the beach. But it was not easy. Now I was also in a mess with the man that I was trying to save pulling me down because of panic.
By nature, I am a little impatient, so I chose not to be over-hasty, but consider for a moment what to do. I was sure if I dropped him, and saved myself, he would never reappear and drown. In this situation it was of help that I had attended a safety course in Klaksvík navigational college. I never panicked.
We could not touch the bottom where we were splashing. But It was then that I let the waves take the man to the beach. It seemed to be working and we gradually we approached the shore.
When we could touch the bottom with our feet I gave him my arm and supported him. He was so powerless and weak that he hung on my body. He couldnt even stand. At last managed to walk alone the last few steps to the beach.
Then I turned around and saw that his wife was in the area that we had just left and she was also in physical bad situation, basically powerless, so I left the man as I understood, he could manage himself.
I swam up to her, took around her and started swimming towards the beach. This was an easier job, she was not as heavy as her husband. She did not swim herself, so I had to swim all the way in.
Later she told me, she could not swim, but she had gone into the see to try to help her husband when she saw him in difficulty.
She knew, he had problems with his heart, but she didn´t know anything about the strong underwater currents.
When were were all back on the beach the two didn´t say a word to each other, they just sat there looking very weak but recovering their strength. Once the man said “danke”, otherwise there was no communication between us. They were in a state of shock.
I went over to Sólrun, sitting across from the German couple. She had seen nothing of the event.
The two remained sitting on the beach looking miserable. Then Sólrun said to me, maybe I should give them something to drink. So I did, but language difficulties hindered any communication. However, after drinking the water that I gave them, they said “Alles gut” and asked for my name.
I went back over to Sólun. I continued to watch them as I was still worried about their condition. They stood up and went over to their clothes and were on their way to their accommodation, then they noticed where we were sitting and came over to us and greeted Sólrun. They looked very moved with tears in their eyes.
When they had left, Solrun said to me, you saved their lives.
Afterwards I fell asleep on the beach but was awoken some time later by the German woman that I just saved from drowning. She had a bottle of wine and a slip of paper with something written on it. She spoke the whole time, but we didn´t understand a word. On the slip there were names, addresses and telephone numbers.
Later that day we decided to go out for a meal. We had the couple´s address which was not far from ours, so we dropped in to see how they were. I saw the man who invited us inside the house when Elena came and hugged both me and Sólrun. Her husband took our hands and both were very thankful and emotional.
Elena kept on calling me “my child” and was beside herself with joy. You are always very welcome. Our house is your house. You saved our life is what she said.
Since then we have been in touch via internet. In the beginning she said that she had not told her mother and family about the event, she was afraid it would be too emotional, but she had told her son the whole story. She said next time she was going to Spain, she would leave the key for their house with a neighbor, so that Sólrun and I, and my parents, could always stay there.
The event took place in La Marina 29th August 2018. Eleana says: August 29th will hereafter be their new birthday.