Miraculous! Scuba Diver Thankful for the Three Mermaids Who Saved His Life

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In October 2022, as Pablo Avila was nearing the end of a scuba dive off the coast of Catalina Island in California, he blacked out and started frothing at the mouth. He was going under, and if not for the three mermaids who saved him, he might not have made it.

No, this isn’t a story from a book. Avila was saved by mermaids, specifically by Elle Jimenez, a professional mermaid performer, and her two students, Elaina Marie Garcia and Great Chin Burger.

Fox News says that 33-year-old Jimenez has been performing as a mermaid for six years and is now certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors to teach advanced mermaid courses (PADI).

Jimenez said, “This was my first time teaching the course in California.” On the second day of the course, Jimenez was teaching her students in open water off the coast of Casino Point when she heard someone yell, “Help! He blacked out!”

At this point, Jimenez said, “I think we all went on automatic — and our rescue mode turned on.” Jimenez, Garcia, and Burger jumped into action because they were the only three mermaids in the group with rescue and teaching certifications.

Garcia is a firefighter in Avalon, California. He is certified by PADI to go scuba diving. Burger, who is from Guam, is also certified by PADI in freediving safety.

Julie Andersen, who is the global director of the brand for PADI Worldwide, was also there when the accident happened. She watched as the three mermaids helped Avila.

Andersen said, “We safely kept our distance, ensuring we did not complicate the situation.”

Elaina got to Pablo first,” Jimenez continued, “and right after, Great Chin, then me.”

I gave him rescue breaths in the water,” Garcia stated. “My training kicked in, and I had the muscle memory I needed to get his scuba gear quickly and efficiently off. Great Chin helped me remove his weights, all the while giving a breath every five seconds.”

After taking off his scuba gear, the mermaids brought Avila back to land. “There is a misconception about mermaids,” Jimenez said to Metro. “I don’t think people realize just how trained we are in life-saving skills.”

Jimenez thought that Avila had an air embolism, which happens when air leaks out of the lungs and into the blood vessels.

Jimenez said, “It felt like forever before he started breathing again. “It was a few hours before he woke up, and finding out that he was ok was such a relief.” 

Avila was taken to a decompression chamber after being saved and has since improved.

I have never had to perform a real rescue before, only in practice drills, so for me, this incident solidified that our training is vital,” Jimenez exclaimed.

Garcia told Fox News that she was feeling so many emotions and how surreal it was to have rescued someone. “I’m proud of the way we handled the rescue. It was absolutely a team effort. I also feel a great sense of relief that Pablo survived, as I believe it’s rare to come back from needing full CPR to breathing, talking, and smiling.”

Each of the women had always been drawn to water and wished they could be like the mermaids they had seen in movies or read about as kids.

But, they said, the sport doesn’t get much respect online, and when the mermaids explain what they do for a living, many people are surprised. From the outside, they said, most people think their job is just “bubble kisses, glitter makeup, and dolphin kicks.”

Burger said that she hopes this incident will help the mermaid community get some well-deserved respect and also show that it is a serious sport.  “It’s not just pretty tails and smiles, but we can save lives too… with grace.”

The story sounds like it came from a fairy tale, but it shows that real-life mermaids are just as beautiful and elegant as the ones in the stories.

The PADI mermaid rescue team reminded me that mermaids are real,” said Andersen. “But they are the superheroes our blue planet needs — with the power to step up and spread hope wherever they flip their tails.”


Featured Image screengrab from embedded Tweet.

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