Three people were in the right place at the right time early Tuesday evening when they saved a woman off the 27th Street beach in Ship Bottom, police said.
The woman - whose name has not yet been released - was struggling in the rough surf on the unguarded beach around 6:45 p.m., said Sgt. James Butler.
"She was floundering in the very rough surf and tumbling in the water," he said.
Fortunately, the woman was spotted by Michael Ems, East Hampton, and Catherine Ghee, Connecticut. When the two pulled the woman from the surf, she was not breathing, Butler said.
Sixteen-year-old Grace Campbell — a Morris Township teenager who lifeguards at Culver Lake in Sussex County — was playing beach volleyball nearby when two of her friends started screaming.
"I started running. I started sprinting," Campbell said.
One woman was already attempting to give the stricken woman CPR.
"She wasn't in the right spot," Campbell said. "I just said 'Can I take over?' She wasn't really breathing, but she had a pulse."
As Campbell gave the woman CPR, the woman began to cough.
"But nothing was coming out," Campbell said. "I put her on her side. She started spitting up water. She sat up instantly and started moving. When she realized where she was, she was in disbelief."
Campbell, who received her lifeguard certification in May, was down with her brother visiting relatives for a few days. The teenager — one of five children — lost her father when she was in the eighth grade and her mother in July.
"It's okay," she said. "I have a lot of family."
By the time police and first aid arrived on the scene, the woman was conscious and alert, Butler said.
She was transported to Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin by the Beach Haven First Aid Squad and paramedics, Butler said.
"Police advise everyone not to swim after hours," he said. "If not for these three people, this could have had a very different outcome. The Ship Bottom Police Department would like to publicly thank the three people who came to the victim's aid and saved her life."
The victim's name is not being released at this time until her family is notified, Butler said.