Montreal teens hailed as heroes for saving couple from drowning in Barbados

It was just before 3 p.m. on a sunny but windy day last week on a beach on the south side of Barbados when Emma Bassermann and Zoe Meklensek-Ireland finished boogie boarding.

Emma, a competitive swimmer who trains with the Dorval swim club, was on a 10-day training camp in Barbados. She had an afternoon training session to get to. Zoe’s father Chuck Meklensek is the national development coach for the Dorval swim club, and Zoe trained up until last year as a competitive swimmer.

The girls were heading in when Zoe heard a cry for help.

“I heard someone yelling for help in the distance. I was looking around for her and I spotted her and she was about 50 feet out from where I was,” 13-year-old Zoe said.  “So I went out to her and she told me that her husband was further out and he was struggling to swim and he needed assistance.”

Zoe, along with 14-year-old Emma’s help, managed to bring London, England resident Belinda Stone back to shore.

“We swam out not realizing rip tides were known in this area,” Stone said.

When she understood she couldn’t swim back in, Stone thought it best to alert a lifeguard and that’s when she started shouting for help.

“Luckily Zoe heard me,” Stone said, admitting she did think about what would happen if her cries went unanswered.

“I was calm and resigned to the fact that if no one heard me this was it and thank heavens I left the wills on the dining room table,” she said.

Back on solid ground, Stone was relieved but concerned for her husband, who was now flailing in the water about 150 feet from shore. The girls said Stone tried to dissuade them from going out because she was concerned for their welfare.

“I was very concerned that they were so young and did not want them to go out as well,” Stone said. “Not to save a man in their 60s.”

But the resort where they were staying had no lifeguards on duty, and there were few other adults on the beach to help.

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