Behind the photo: from lifesavers to lifelong friends – a terrifying ordeal that forged a relationship
Julie Reynard, 54, watched in horror as her husband disappeared under the waves. Who could save him now?
Staring out at the sea, I felt a sense of calm. It was July 2016 and my husband Ian, 56, and I were on a five-star break in Antalya, Turkey.
Three days into the trip, we were heading for cocktails on the pier when ian decided to take a quick dip. i settled at a table and, after about 10 minutes, spotted ian. he seemed further out than usual. Then i saw him waving his arm in the air and shouting before he disappeared from view.
‘someone, help my husband!’ i screamed. i darted along the pier. There were a few people around, but no one who spoke English. i knew i’d never be able to get to ian. i wasn’t a very good swimmer. But then a young man come running over. as i pointed out to the sea, where ian was still struggling, he set off running down the pier and dived into the water.
it felt like an eternity before the man finally reached ian, but he quickly grabbed him and held his head above the waves. a boat reached them and ian was pulled on board. Then the man clambered on too and the boat headed back to the beach.
‘i’ve lost him, haven’t i?’ i sobbed. ‘he’s dead, isn’t he?’ a young woman stepped forward to comfort me. But just as the ambulance arrived, i heard ian call my name. i grabbed his hand tightly, relieved he had asked for me. i got into the ambulance with him and we were rushed to the local hospital.
an interpreter helped explain ian’s lungs were full of water and doctors were taking him to intensive care. i was still wearing my bikini, but a nurse gave me a gown and mask so i could go and see him. he looked weak, but when he managed to smile at my outfit, i knew he’d be ok.
at 11pm, i returned to the hotel to get some clothes. a young couple spotted me in the lobby. ‘is your husband ok?’ the man asked and i realised he’d been the one who’d saved ian. and it was his partner who had comforted me on the beach. ‘ian’s going to be fine,’ i said. ‘Thank
you both so much.’
They introduced themselves as lindsay, 30, and Ewout, 27, from holland. They insisted on taking me out for dinner that day and the next, and we exchanged phone numbers. Back in England, ian recovered well. Then in March this year, we heard Ewout had won a bravery award and we were invited to holland to see him being presented with it on TV. i kept remembering how he’d dived into the water and hadn’t thought once about his own safety. Ewout and lindsay are now planning a trip to the uk next year. after everything we’ve been through, we’ll be friends for life.
‘He hadn’t thought about his own safety’
Julie and Ian (both left) were happy to be reunited with the heroic couple
Ian was taken to intensive care at the