Three distressed divers surfaced offshore of California’s Catalina Island this October. Two struggled to hold up their unconscious dive buddy who was not breathing and foaming at the mouth. That’s when mermaids came to the rescue.
“We’re pulling him, and we’re getting a little winded, a little tired out,” diver Joshua Claramunt tells Fox News. “And then, out of nowhere, just a bunch of mermaids show up.”
Claramunt was diving with his father, Javier, and his father’s friend, Pablo Avila when Avila lost consciousness. As luck would have it, Ellie Jimenez—popular TikTok mermaid and the first-ever PADI Mermaid Instructor Trainer—was teaching a PADI Advanced Mermaid Training course nearby at Casino Point. She and two other professional PADI mermaids finned into action as soon as they heard the cries for help.
“While we were practicing our mermaid rescue scenarios of rescuing another mermaid, I see him coughing foam,” says mermaid Elaina Thomas, which is “a telltale sign in diving of an air embolism.”
Air embolisms occur in diving when nitrogen bubbles form in body tissues and the bloodstream. Often, these are the result of surfacing too quickly, and can be very dangerous if untreated.
When the mermaids reached the group, Avila had no pulse and his eyes were completely dilated. Still in their mermaid tails and seashell bras, the women’s PADI rescue training kicked in.
They ditched Avila’s gear and weights. “I picked up the weights, which must have been about 35 pounds, and it immediately pulled me under. I had to let it go into the depths to stop myself from drowning,” Jimenez said.
As a PADI Scuba Diver Instructor and trained EMT, “I made the decision to give him mouth-to-mouth because he looked so dire,” Thomas added. She got Avila back to shore as quickly as possible, where she began compressions. After 10 minutes of CPR on land, Avila began to breathe. After several hours of treatment in a decompression chamber, he woke up. He has since recovered.
“There is a misconception about mermaids, I don’t think people realize just how trained we are in lifesaving skills,” Jimenez says, noting mermaids are skilled free divers trained in sea rescue procedures. “The rescue has given a whole new meaning to the PADI program because if I hadn’t been trained properly, I wouldn’t have been able to help the diver.”
With Alvia on the mend, the Claramunt sent a message to their heroines: “You all were amazing. Real life mermaids to the rescue. You made me believe in fairytales again. Thanks again for all you did.”
The mermaid program is a PADI specialty that leverages athleticism, confidence, composure and safety. “[This rescue] really shows how well-trained our pros are– across disciplines–and it’s just so darn hopeful,” says Julie Anderson, PADI’s director of global brand and PR.