Beachgoers save surfer on Folly Beach following traumatic accident

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - While a College of Charleston student was fighting for her life in the waves during a surfing accident, many good Samaritans rushed to save her life.

Anne Kanellos and her friend Meredith Glass decided to go surfing on Sept. 16, not knowing that in a matter of minutes Anne would be torn open by the fin of her board.

“The fin of the surfboard went into my thigh and just cut it like 8 inches long,” Kanellos said.

She felt dizzy immediately from the blood loss.

“And that’s the moment I was like,'Wow, I could actually die.' That was definitely scary,” she said.

Her friend was the first to rush over, tying a makeshift tourniquet with her surf shirt.

“I just remember running over there, throwing it over her leg and trying to get her out of the water,” Glass said.

But the girls weren’t the only ones out at near the pier, many people rushed in, picking Kanellos up and bringing her to shore to help save her life.

Among those were two nurses and Travis Odell, an off-duty ocean rescue first responder.

“The response was incredibly quick from both bystanders and EMS getting to her,” Odell said. “It was definitely one of the most horrific things I’ve been a part of. But also, one of the best things I’ve been a part of because of the outcome.”

The people surrounding Kanellos stopped the bleeding, called for help and got oxygen to help her breathe.

Kanellos has since tried to reach out and say thank you to the many people who saved her life that day.

“I wouldn’t be alive without them,” Kanellos said. “It was crazy the timing of all those people being there, just happened to be there. And there are other people who helped too that I will never know.”

Kanellos is expected to fully recover and she even says she wants to get back out on the water. Both young women believe the rescue was a miracle.

“It’s no coincidence that those people were on the beach,” Glass said. “I really think that God put those people there that day to save Anne.”

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