Woman reunites with rescuer 44 years after nearly drowning off NC coast

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OAK ISLAND, N.C. — An emotional reunion more than four decades in the making took place Monday.

A woman who nearly drowned when she was just 12 years old finally got to thank her rescuer.

Cindi Vance met Petty Officer 1st Class David O’Neal for the first time since he pulled her from the surf off the coast of Oak Island back on July 3, 1970.

A second rescuer, Petty Officer 1st Class Ronald Savage, also helped pull Vance to safety. Savage died in a car accident a few years ago, but his son came in his honor.

Vance was in the water trying to save her brother but they both got caught up in a rip current. Her brother did not survive.

Vance said she was able to find her rescuers after using a genealogist. She was happy just to say thank you.

Source: WTVD