The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

MU surfer rescues tangled kiteboarder

Dan Wright, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, talks with Steve Hyma on Sunday afternoon at Bradford Beach after the Marquette student rescued the Bay View resident from Lake Michigan.

A normal Sunday afternoon surfing at the beach turned into an impromptu rescue mission for Marquette student Dan Wright.

Wright, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, had just arrived at Bradford Beach around noon with windsurfing on his mind.

As Wright, a surfer most of his life, began windsurfing on Lake Michigan, he noticed kiteboarder Steve Hyma, 23, was drifting downwind and approaching rocks on the shoreline.

“I went out to see if he was alright,” Wright said.

Wright saw Hyma was entangled, and swam out to where he was stranded to help. He said Hyma tried to free himself on his own but wasn’t able to because of the lake currents.

“He was in pretty bad shape but went back (into the lake), and swam back in against the currents and the waves,” Wright said.

Kiteboarding, also known as kite surfing, involves riding a modified surfboard attached to a large kite. Wright said kiteboarders can use a self-rescue method to pry themselves loose when such a situation arises, but the currents made this difficult to achieve on Sunday.

The rough waters, extreme waves and biting wind made Wright’s swim one of the toughest of his life. Once he reached him, Wright helped Hyma onto his surfboard to carry him back to the beach.

“When I got back to shore, the currents got really strong,” Wright said. “But the adrenaline just kicked in and I was able to get him back.”

There were three other kiteboarders with Hyma. While Wright helped Hyma on his own, the Coast Guard was called in to assist one of the others. Wright had just entered the water when he heard sirens.

“I actually didn’t know the police were called,” Wright said. “I just got into the water, then I started hearing sirens and stuff and there were tons of people. I realized this was a big deal.”

Although some called Wright a hero in the aftermath, his sister Julie Wright said he was just doing the right thing.

“I was not surprised to hear that Dan took a risk to help someone because he is a very kind and caring person and has been all his life,” said his sister, who plans to attend Marquette in the fall. “When it comes to assisting someone in need, Dan would never hesitate or think twice about his own safety.”

Mary Minson, Wright’s academic adviser, said Wright’s actions are the prime example of living out Marquette’s mission of “being the difference.”

“This tells me so much. I know that since I worked with him, he has a genuine sense of concern for other people,” Minson said.

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