Teen girls, 13 and 14, save couple from riptide in Barbados

Two teenage competitive swimmers heroically towed a husband and wife caught in a current to shore on a boogie board.
A person surfs in the Barbados.
Posted at 5:52 PM, Jan 24, 2024

A London couple vacationing in Barbados on Jan. 3 found themselves caught in a riptide, and experienced a moment of true panic when they realized they weren't strong enough swimmers to return to the shore. 

The struggling couple, Belinda and Robert Stone, began to call for help, but there were no lifeguards in sight.

Luckily, two girls from Montreal — Emma Bassermann, 14, and Zoe Ireland-Meklensek, 13 — happened to be boogie boarding nearby.

You might think that a couple of young teens would be unlikely heroes in this situation, but these weren’t just any girls. Both have swam competitively, and they were actually on the island so that Bassermann, who is coached by Ireland-Meklensek's dad, could participate in a swim training program.

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So as Belinda Stone began preparing for the worst — as she told The Washington Post, she recalled thinking, "Thank heavens I left our wills on the dining room table" — Ireland-Meklensek, traveling on a boogie board, approached the woman. 

Belinda Stone said at that moment, "The mother in me kicks in," worrying that she had just put the small-sized girl in danger. But Ireland-Meklensek just pulled the woman onto her boogie board.

“She said her husband was further out, and he was struggling to swim," the teen told The Post. "I told her to hold on tight, and I strapped the boogie board tether to my wrist. Emma was by my side for support."

Ireland-Meklensek then swam to Robert Stone and put him on her boogie board. She attached the board's strap to her ankle and swam to shore, towing him behind her.

“We weren't really thinking much except to get them to safety as fast as we could, but I will say, well, I was pretty scared and worried about their safety and our own,” Zoe told the publication.

But all ended well, and the couple and the teens were able to escape the riptide's grasp.

“Zoe and Emma saved our lives,” Brenda Stone told CBC News in Canada. “There’s no two ways about it.”

Watch the full CBC News story below.

This story was originally published by Jennifer Graham Kizer at