MARINE Saves Woman From Drowning In Lake Michigan

Posted on June 21, 2012

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Indiana (The Gaslamp Post) – A woman is alive today thanks to the quick efforts of one Marine who happened to be in the right place at the right time.  The young Marine had witnessed the raft the woman and her friend were in capsize out in Lake Michigan, and then swam out to her aid.  He was able to get her to safety, but was unable to locate her friend.

Marine 2nd. Lt. Nicholas Dominguez pictured with his girlfriend Diana. Image – The Herald News

Marine 2nd Lt. Nicholas Dominguez, 22, and his mother Jeanne, both of Lockport, Illinois, were at the beach in Beverly Shores when the incident took place.  The two were in town visiting friends and were playing with their dogs when Nicholas saw a small raft flip over out in the lake, around 3 pm this past Monday.

Evelyn Hernandez and Leonel Dominguez (no relation to Nicholas or his mother), had paddled their raft out into the lake when Leonel reportedly got out and attempted to tow it to shore by swimming.  The wind caught the raft and tossed Evelyn out.

With wind gusting around 35 mph and the water being choppy, Dominguez went into the water and swam out to the small inflatable craft.  “I wanted to just go in and see if they needed help. I’m fairly confident in my ability. I wasn’t worried about how far out it was,” Nicholas said.  He said at the time he was only going to check on them, and that he didn’t believe they were in any danger.

“When I was out there, I couldn’t really see very far, because you were neck-deep in the waves. But when I was finally able to see her, I yelled that I was coming and that’s when she started yelling: ‘Help me, help me, I’m exhausted.’ I got to her and grabbed her around the waist and took her back to a sand bar where she could stand. 

At that point, my mom had already come in after me,” Nicholas said. “My mom, she was worried for me, so she followed me after a while.”

Jeanne, Nicholas’ mother swam out to the sand bar and assisted Hernandez.  Nicholas then swam back out in search of her friend Leonel.

“I turned and I swam back deeper, to where I had last seen Leo. The last time I saw him was when I was still on the shore,” Nicholas said.

“When I swam deeper, I didn’t see him. We were yelling his name. So I swam deeper out. And it never occurred to me that he would go under. I just thought that he had drifted further away with the current.”

Nicholas continued his search until he saw a Coast Guard boat come by and divers with scuba gear enter the water.  His mother remained close by, not letting him out of her sight.  They were unable to locate Leonel.

2nd Lt. Nicholas Dominguez is a recent graduate of the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant this past Friday.  He graduated from Lockport Township High School and Will County District 92, having attended Oak Prairie Junior High School in Homer Glen, Ill. and Ludwig School in Lockport, according to the Post-Tribune.

(h/t:  Post Tribune)

Posted in: Patriotism