- Experienced scuba divers Pablo Avila and his friends Javier and Joshua Claramunt went diving in Catalina Island, California when Avila suffered from an aeroembolism.
- Fortunately, real-life mermaids were in the area practicing life-saving drills and responded to the divers’ call for help.
- If not for his companions’ swift actions and the rescue efforts of the mermaids, Avila would not have been able to reach the hyperbaric chamber in time to be alive and well now.
It may have been an experience that he would not want to repeat, but not everyone can say they have been rescued by mermaids.
Argentinian Pablo Avila, 73, went scuba diving off Casino Point in Catalina Island, California with his friend Javier and his son Joshua Claramunt. The two friends are experienced scuba divers.
When Claramunt checked on the pressure gauges on their oxygen tanks, he signaled for them to go up. Avila was still exploring. Claramunt said, “I asked him to go up, and he agreed. That’s the last thing he remembers.”
Avila must have ascended too fast and held his breath or there were issues with the rented scuba gear.
When they reached the surface, the foam was coming out of Avila’s mouth. Claramunt remembers that Avila said he could not breathe and then lost consciousness. “I immediately grabbed him, removed his mask, turned him around, cleaned his mouth.”
While pulling Avila toward the shore, they screamed for help and asked people to call 911.
Fortunately, real-life mermaids were practicing open-water life-saving rescue drills and heard their cries for help.
Elle Jiminez, 33, who was teaching an advanced PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Mermaid class at that time, said they were already in rescue mode. She says it was such crazy timing.
Together with one of her students, Elaina Garcia, and safety diver Great Chin Burger, helped remove Avila’s gear, gave him rescue breaths in the water, and accompanied him back to shore.
From there, Avila was taken by rescue personnel to a hyperbaric chamber for aeroembolism treatment.
For Jimenez, it was a “really amazing and magical” experience and a fairytale that was pretty crazy.
Claramunt says, “This was a crisis that nobody wants, but thank god it turned out well, and then it was the catalyst to make his stay here very positive at the end.”
Avila is alive and well, thanks to his experienced diver friends and the real-life mermaids.