Bystanders saved girl hit by surfboard

JENSEN BEACH — Cindy Townsend said she was at the beach Wednesday with her daughter and another girl, who were surfing.

She saw Sunny Noddin, the girl with her daughter, get hit in the head by the surfboard she was riding, and ran toward the water when she didn't see Noddin immediately rise to the surface. That, she said, is when a man pulled Noddin from the water and another man began CPR compressions.

That was the account Townsend gave a Martin County Sheriff's deputy in a recently released sheriff's report that brings additional details to the incident at Jensen public beach.

A news release issued hours after the incident said lifeguards noticed a teen surfer floating about 10:30 a.m. A lifeguard retrieved the person from the rough surf and started "basic life support care." Paramedics arrived and took the teen to Martin Memorial Medical Center.

Capt. Emily Hall, who heads the county's ocean rescue division, on Wednesday said the incident happened as the girl, thought to be 13 years old, was 10 to 20 feet from shore.

Noddin's condition was not immediately available Friday morning.

In the sheriff's report, Townsend told a deputy Noddin was with Townsend and Townsend's daughter. Townsend said the girls were surfing when she saw Noddin get hit in the head by the surfboard, the report states.

"When she did not see Sunny come to the surface right away, she ran toward the water," the report states. "She said a young man went into the water and pulled Sunny from the water. Another man began giving Sunny CPR compressions as the lifeguards responded to the scene and took over."

Townsend, of Jensen Beach, pointed out the two people who helped Noddin.

A deputy spoke to John Wich, 63, and his 25-year-old son, Jack Wich, both of Jensen Beach.

"John told me that Jack saw the girl was in trouble and went into the water and pulled the child out of the surf," the report states. "John said she was unresponsive, and began CPR chest compressions, as one of the lifeguards began mouth to mouth. John let the other responding lifeguards take over on arrival."

When the deputy arrived, she saw three lifeguards around the girl trying to give her oxygen.

"The child was choking up water and sand," the report states.

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