Teen Rescues Girl Hours After Becoming Lifeguard

Jennifer Mahin, 17, of Carlsbad, conducted a risky rescue in Oceanside Friday evening. She became a lifeguard in Carlsbad earlier in the day.

Jennifer Mahin, 17, heard some telling words at her graduation from the California State lifeguard academy in Carlsbad Friday.

“You might save a life today,” she remembers an instructor saying.

At about 8:30 that night a group her friends and family walked on Oceanside’s north jetty near the harbor and saw some frantic teenagers asking them to call 911.

Another 17-year-old girl had been thrown into the water by a wave and was kept from getting back out by a rip current, said Oceanside lifeguard Capt. Bill Curtis, who later responded to the call.

A distraught male told the girls he had attempted to save her but was thrown against the rocks and told them to “just leave her,” Stephanie Fabinski, 15, said.

But Mahin reacted immediately.

“She just took off her shirt and jumped in,” Fabinski said.

Within a minute, Mahin reached the victim, witnesses recalled.

The victim wasn’t responding to cues and Mahin was unable to tow her out of the rip current, so she stayed in the water until help arrived.

“I held her head up because I didn’t know if she was breathing,” she said. “She went under, so I just assumed she wasn’t breathing.”

Rescuers arrived and tossed Mahin a rescue device. Mahin was able to clip the victim, she said, and was able to swim out of the water on her own.

The victim was responsive but was taken to a hospital for precautionary measures, Curtis said.

Mahin—a member of the Carlsbad High School water polo team—said she chose to be a California state lifeguard in Carlsbad because she loves the beach and helping people.

She was also excited for her accomplishment.

“It’s the most gratifying thing ever,” she said.

Just as excited were her group of friends—including 15-year-old Malia Magro.

“Jen pulled some serious lifeguard stuff,” she said.

Daniel Woolfolk July 02, 2012 at 07:14 AM
Wow, Julie, glad to hear that you still remember Elaine.
American 1st July 02, 2012 at 09:31 AM
SuperLady! (like Superman)
PATRICIA NAPPI-HOGAN July 02, 2012 at 11:44 AM
After all the negativity we hear about the human race, such as bullying etc., it is wonderful to read news like this. GREAT JOB JENNIFER you have gave me back my thoughts that humanity is not totally gone. So as far as I am concerned besides saving that young girls life, you also gave me back something. Hope all is well with the young woman who was in the water.
Richard Rick Blackaby July 02, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Something special about people who's action shows bravery in the face of danger . This will be the start of two great lifes, continue to carry on Jennifer .
GNOBIE01 July 02, 2012 at 01:04 PM
myangel82 July 02, 2012 at 01:09 PM
thanks for saving a life..you were in the right place at the right time..God bless you so glad people are willing to help others. www.money-burge.com
A.B. July 02, 2012 at 01:10 PM
This is what real teens are all about.
Noel T. Delgado July 02, 2012 at 01:25 PM
great job Jennifer, you're a real lifeguard
Annalaw July 02, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Yay Jen! You Rock. My grandson just entered the Coast Guard. He is a lifeguard as well. You're a Natural! Good luck in whatever you do.
John July 02, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Brave girl. Glad she didn't lisened to the guy that said he attempted to save her and could not so just leave her. Wonderful job well done Jen !!
Kathy Noyes July 02, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Way to go Jennifer! I am so proud of you, as I am sure your family, friends and instructors are. You are a credit to your community, and I wish you nothing but the best in all your endeavors. EXCELLENT JOB!! Kathy Noyes
Peg July 02, 2012 at 02:14 PM
"Just leave her" is the remark that bothered me and I'm so pleased to know Jennifer took the high road, put her new learning into practice and became a hero. The boy who suggested leaving the struggling girl behind is the goat.
Daniel Myers July 02, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I'm in no way saying that the "just leave her" boy is without blame, but, if you do not know how to deal with rip currents, then the girl is unsalvageable. If you try to carry the girl back without first escaping the rip current, you will not have the strength to fight the rip current while carrying the girl. As I say again, I'm not lauding his give up attitude, but explaining that, to his knowledge and ability, he could never have saved her.
Fran Colonna July 02, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I think "just leave her" was just worded wrong.....if this boy did not know how to swim in a rip current (side to side is the correct way...I think), then he would have been compounding a potential tragedy by trying again....he did try but was thrown up against the rocks. I think he was a hero also by just trying. Calling 911 was their only recourse until that wonderful Jen arrived with her new skills!!! You rock, Jen!!!
Fred Rodgers July 02, 2012 at 03:11 PM
with the skills available maybe "just leave her" was the right discision. (wrong wording though) but if you just were thrown up against rocks (and seen you life in trouble) that may have been the right call.
Stanley Scott July 02, 2012 at 03:14 PM
My hat's off to this young lady not only for her rescue of the girl in trouble but the fact she didn't hesitate to put her life on the line for another. Reminds me of what our military personnel do daily for all of us!
jesus marin July 02, 2012 at 03:45 PM
So well put D meyers rip currents,fast eddies and swells are so dangerous if you don't know anything about them you'll jump or fall into something and you never come up the guy did try but knew he couldn't save her and most 1st aid resonders are the likely candidate of death because there not prperly trained or in shape to respond to issues like this particular one I was a marine and water safety instructor and was trained by the chapter of imperial county of sandiego 32 yrs ago I never had to save anyone like that,this young lady she took a huge risk and made it thanks to her ability,work ethic in the pool(a strong swimmer) and courageous efforts.I swam a Mile a day and worked out for 2 hrs on weights and ran 3 miles but the ultimate challenge is when you have to or decide to save someone and your experience and hard work pays off keep up the good work challenge your mind and body to be the best and you'll be as prepared for any event in or out of the water.Semper-Fi Jennifer keep up the tradition of saving lives and a scholar.
JO Furderer July 02, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Excellent story! she didn't think of herself but of someone else. There should be a lot more people like her and a lot more stories written. Way to go!
Kris Topar July 02, 2012 at 04:25 PM
My husband was one of her instructors. He is beaming like a proud parent. Very proud of this young lady. Well done!!
Gary Wallin July 02, 2012 at 04:55 PM
We in Minnesota are all proud of you Jennifer.
DeeJorge July 02, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Nice to know there are still some good people out there that will help in situations and not turn around......Congrats to her and good job
DeeJorge July 02, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Excellent job to him as well, great instructor....
GNOBIE01 July 02, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Carney Family July 04, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Jen you are awesome. All the best to you! Wow!
Roger Brown July 09, 2012 at 03:24 AM
yes she does. Way to go Jen... You are making a difference one life at a time.
LemonGroove September 25, 2012 at 06:39 PM
What you talkin' about Willis?
LemonGroove September 25, 2012 at 06:41 PM
A Hero!
Jewel Herrera December 26, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Good job Jen, you did what you had to do! Jen just remember to have respect and be careful of the powerful ocean cause if not it can take you down fast!!! Be safe sweetie...
Ann April 15, 2013 at 05:42 AM
She did what she was taught! What a hero and my family commends you! You are a great inspiration and hopefully you will continue on your journey as an amazing example for others to follow!
Ann April 15, 2013 at 05:42 AM
She did what she was taught! What a hero and my family commends you! You are a great inspiration and hopefully you will continue on your journey as an amazing example for others to follow!


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