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Seventeen-year-old lifeguard John Clark, who rescued a 12-year-old in the surf of Rockaway Beach near Tillamook, Ore., was billed nearly $2,600 in hospital and ambulance bills.
Clark, a lifeguard this summer at a local community center in Vancouver, was visiting the Oregon beach when he heard screams for help. Diving through heavy ocean swells and wave breaks, he kept the boy afloat until watercraft arrived to pull the pair to shore.
“I don’t know exactly how big the swells were,” Clark said. “But they were big enough to push both of us underwater, all the way down to where we were toughing sand.”
After being pulled to shore by Jet Skis, Clark accompanied the boy in an ambulance to Tillamook General Hospital.
Clark thought the ambulance ride was standard, until a bill arrived totaling $2,600. $1,900 was for the 15-mile ambulance ride.
“I had a feeling there would be a bill,” Clark said. “I feel bad for the fact that it’s so expensive, but I couldn’t just let the kid go — I had to do something.”