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Sidcup swimming teacher risks life to rescue teenager from sea
A SWIMMING teacher from Sidcup put her own life on the line when she dived into the choppy Caribbean Sea to rescue a drowning 13-year-old boy.
Sixty-year-old Jean Pendrich, who lives in Ashcroft Avenue, was on holiday in Puerto Rico - an island near the Dominican Republic - when disaster struck.
Whilst lying on the beach her husband Stuart spotted two people 50 metres out to sea, drifting close to the rocks.
Realising the two men - who she later found to be American holidaymaker Derek Becker and his father - were in trouble, two lifeguards rushed to the shore and started blowing whistles to attract their attention.
But seeing the lifeguards were reluctant to dive in, Mrs Pendrich realised she had to get involved.
She told News Shopper: "I had to dive through the waves - I couldn’t swim on them as they were three to four foot high.
"I just kept swimming as fast as I could and when I reached him, he was in major shock."
Mrs Pendrich grabbed Derek with her right hand and told him to keep breathing.
She explained: "He was hyper-ventilating and kept going under.
"We were getting pushed nearer to the rocks and I kept telling him to kick his legs."
When they reached the shore, Derek’s mother and grandmother were among the crowds of people watching the heroic rescue from the shoreline.
Speaking to lifeguards the following day, Mrs Pendrich discovered the reason they were hesitant to swim into the ocean was because a 13-year-old boy had died after being washed out to sea earlier in the year.
On her return to Sidcup, Mrs Pendrich received an email from Derek’s mother Kimberly, which read: "I will never forget Jean and the brave, heroic feet she performed that day. She has saved my family from tragedy."
Jean teaches at Angela’s Swimming School in Bexley.