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Queens Chronicle

Vallone: our knight in shining swimsuit

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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 10:39 am, Thu Aug 2, 2012.

Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria) is using Saturday’s heroic beach save to warn beachgoers about dangerous undertows.

No one was allowed in the water all day in Long Branch, on New Jersey’s shore, said Vallone. However, as the beach was closing right before 6 p.m. about six children splashed into the water on the shore where the Vallone family has a beach home. The lifeguards had already packed up for the night.

“It was really rough and there were red flags on the beach all day,” said Harbour Mansion beach resident Terry Rio, who saw the end of the save.

She said near-drowning incidents almost never happen on that swath of beach.

Vallone’s brothers Perry and Paul tried to look for the children’s parents to tell them to get out, but they weren’t around, the councilman said.

“We had all worked on that beach as lifeguards as teenagers and are well aware of how bad that the undertow can be,” Vallone said, adding that his father, former Councilman Peter Vallone Sr., had worked as a lifeguard at the Astoria Pool.

Soon after the kids dove in, the two youngest girls were sucked out by the current.

Perry ran into the water and rescued the girl closer to the shore, while Paul swam after the other girl who was being carried farther out to danger.

“She was close to smashing on the rock jetty,” the councilman said. “If he hadn’t gotten to her she would have been dead.”

Peter Vallone, who had been relaxing and reading a newspaper, sprang into action and dove into the water.

Paul and Peter brought the second girl, Melanie, to shore.

After the incident, the councilman posted a Facebook status, to further warn people of the dangers of the ocean.

“Holy crap my brothers and I just had to save 2 girls swimming after the beach closed,” he said. “The ocean is nuts right now and don’t swim without the guards!”

“If it wasn’t for the Vallones the girls might not have made it,” said Rio. “Their parents weren’t paying attention.”

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