'Very lucky to be alive': Guelph man warning about water dangers after near-drowning in Lake Erie
GUELPH -- A Guelph man is warning about dangers of the water after he nearly drowned in Lake Erie.
Will Martinez said he was swimming on a sunny summer day when he was unexpectedly snagged by the undertow.
"I believe I am very, very lucky to be alive," he said.
Martinez was celebrating his sister's birthday in Long Point, spending family time at Lake Erie.
"We're just going to have a fun weekend and it was nice and hot," he said.
Martinez said he's an experienced swimmer and decided to head into the water, where the undertow caught him off guard.
"The waves kept pulling me in and in and deeper and deeper and before I knew it was so deep that I couldn't touch," he said.
Martinez said he realized he was drowning.
"I kept treading water and was so exhausted and realized that I probably wasn't going to make it," he said. "I was thinking that that was it."
In a panic, Martinez said he started praying.
"There was no one around and as I said that, somehow my daughter appeared," he said.
"I just started swimming another way," his daughter, Lauryn, said. "Nothing really told me to go that way, I don't know, and then I found him."
Lauryn, who is 14 years old, started carrying Will to shore.
"I basically just grabbed his arm and kept pulling him and pulling him," she said.
Her cousin, who is also 14, thought it was a joke when Lauryn first started calling for help, but quickly realized it was serious.
"I was drowning myself to bring him up, I was under water pushing him for a really long time," Aziel Martinez said. "I felt like I should be waking up at this point, must be a dream."
Will's wife, Sarah, watched from the shore in shock.
"They're heroes and I am really, really proud of both of them," Sarah said.
Will's family is thankful he's alive.
"You have to be careful," Will said. "No matter how great of a swimmer you think you are."