Plainfield North High School student Scott Arya never imagined he would save three lives his first time on a jet ski.
Arya, who will be a senior this fall, was vacationing in Madeira Beach, Florida in March with his mom Terry.
He was excited to rent a jet ski, Terry Arya said, though she was nervous, she added.
Scott Arya was ready to hit the water after a quick lesson and licensing test, Terry Arya said. The 17-year-old was headed out to the Gulf of Mexico when he saw some fishermen waving their arms to get his attention.
“I thought I was in the way of their cast,” Scott Arya said.
That’s when he noticed three teenage girls struggling in the water about 100 feet from the shore.
He acted quickly, racing to the girls who were caught in a rip tide. Arya pulled two of the girls to the shore, then went back to get the third girl, he said.
“I didn’t think too much about it,” he said. “I feel that if any other person was in that situation, they would have done the same thing.”
Arya fell into the water at one point during the rescue, Terry Arya said. He was able to right the jet ski and get the girls to safety.
Arya gave his mom a thumbs up after the rescue to let her know he was OK, she said.
He is a great kid with a good heart, his mother said.
“I am bursting with pride that he had the instinct and know-how to bring three girls to safety only minutes after learning to jet ski,” she said.
The incident left both Terry and her son shaken for the rest of the day, so Scott didn’t get to really ride the jet ski that day, she said. However, he did return to enjoy his jet ski ride without incident, Terry Arya said.
“The rescue made our mother-son trip a memorable one,” she said.