Tomas Lopez, 21 years old, was working as a lifeguard in Hallandale Beach, Florida for the past four months. Lopez, however, was recently terminated from his lifeguard position when he disregarded a protected area to save a swimmer. The company he worked for, Jeff Ellis and Associates, has a strict policy that lifeguards cannot go beyond the protected zone they are responsible for overseeing.
However, Lopez believes that he had no choice but to save the drowning man, who may have died without his help. A beachgoer rushed to Lopez’s station to alert him to a man who was drowning. The man was swimming 1,500 feet outside of Lopez’s zone, in a “swim at your own risk” area.
The man had turned blue when Lopez pulled him to the shore, and is now in the intensive care unit at a local hospital.
Lopez was terminated for breaking company policy and for alleged liability issues that could supposedly arise in going outside of his protected area. His supervisor said that Lopez knew he was breaking company rules, but the company has launched a further investigation to confirm whether any safety protocols were violated.
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