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8th District Heartland Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

News Release

July 09, 2012


U.S. Coast Guard Eighth District External Affairs

Contact: U.S. Coast Guard Heartland

Email: uscoastguardheartland@gmail.com

Office: (618) 225-9008

Off-duty Coast Guard officer saves woman

NEW ORLEANS — An off-duty Coast Guardsman rescued a woman who was struggling to stay afloat while swimming in the ocean near Pensacola Beach, Fla., Sunday.

Rescued was Margaret Murphy.

Lt. Cmdr. Gabriel Somma, a helicopter pilot instructor at Naval Air Station Whiting Field and a graduate of Deering High School in Portland, Maine, saw Murphy approximately 50 yards from shore, struggling against the current. Somma swam out to Murphy and brought her safely back to the beach.

"A combination of my Coast Guard and water survival training really helped me today," said Somma. "As I was approaching her in the water, I thought about my water survival training and my instinct took over, and I was able to save that woman's life. It gave me a new respect for our rescue swimmers who do this every day."

Murphy declined medical assistance.

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