City of St. Augustine Beach recognizes man who rescued swimmer

Sam LaPlante was recognized Wednesday evening by the city of St. Augustine Beach. (WJXT)

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. – The city of St. Augustine Beach on Wednesday recognized a man who rescued a swimmer during rough weather almost a year ago.

St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Daniel Carswell said the recognition is long overdue.

On Sept. 23, in the water just off 10th Street, an officer was called to help a man in distress in the rough water. Sam LaPlante was on the beach when he realized what was happening and rushed in to help. The officer gave him his buoy, and LaPlante swam out and brought the man safely to shore.

“It was a really bad nor’easter, really rough surf conditions,” Carswell said. “A very impressive rescue that he made that day. Sam, there aren’t a lot of people in the world that would do what you did. I couldn’t be more happy to recognize you tonight.”

LaPlante quickly brushed off the attention on him.

“One of the best things possible was that somebody took out their cellphone and called 911 for help instead of just sitting there kind of not knowing what to do,” LaPlante said.

But LaPlante knew what to do. The former St. Johns County Marine Rescue lifeguard said he was trained well and grateful he was able to respond.