A father who saved the life of a teenager caught in a freak wave that killed two of her friends feels “humbled and heartbroken”.
Adam Cramer, of Glenmere Avenue, Mill Hill, saved the life of the girl, but did not realise two other members of the group she was holidaying with had been killed attempting to save her from rough seas off Playa Paraiso in Tenerife.
The 49-year-old accountant was settling into his hotel at 6pm yesterday when he heard a young girl screaming for help on the beach nearby.
He ran to the shore and saw the teenager being thrown against rocks in the sea in a state of “total panic and helplessness”.
Hundreds crowded to watch as Mr Cramer, who has recently had a life threatening tumour removed from his abdomen, dived into rough waters to save the girl’s life.
He told the Times Series: “It was a split second decision. I thought, do I think about my own children and what I can do for them, or this girl and what I can do for her?
“I took a calculated risk when I realised I might make it. The waves were strong and it was terrifying but I managed to grab her and pull her away from the rocks.
“I told her to hold my neck. She said her name was Sanjaala and when I told her she was going to be fine, she began to calm down. It was an emotional moment.
“We swam along the coast for ten minutes until someone threw us a life ring. I let a big wave carry us onto a rock, and held on grimly to push her up to safety."
But as they arrived back on dry land, they found paramedics attempting to revive a friend of Sanjaala's family who had drowned when trying to save the teenager.
British tourist Uma Ramalingam, 42, had been holidaying with the girl’s family and dived into the seas with her relative Barathi Ravikumar, 39, after the 14-year-old and a ten-year-old boy began struggling in the water.
The pair were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Cramer had only arrived at the resort of Playa Paraiso minutes before the horrific incident and was on the phone to his former wife at the swimming pool.
He had planned a relaxing holiday to Tenerife to recover from his operation with his children, Isabella, 12, Yasmine, 11, and Benji, eight.
He added: “It’s hard - I feel heartbroken because there were these two women who died. I am devastated by this tragic loss.
“But at the same time, I am humbled I was able to help this lovely girl, she’s so brave. Everyone is talking about this hero on the news and it’s overwhelming.
“I only did what any father who can swim would have done.”