Red Hook Daily Catch

Red Hook Teens Rescue a Drowning Boy on Cape Cod; Firefighters Celebrate Their Heroism

Will Anagnos, a rising freshman at Red Hook High School, rescued a drowning teenager Wednesday on Cape Cod (photo from WBZ Boston video).

Red Hook teenagers Will Anagnos and Kyle Richardson saved a drowning 15-year-old boy who had jumped from a bridge near Barnstable on Cape Cod Wednesday, firefighters reported.

Kyle was fishing on-shore and Will was right nearby, on the Craigville Bridge near the Anagnos’ family cottage on Craigville Beach, when Will saw a group push a boy off the bridge into the water below. 

“He went under pretty fast, and I couldn’t see him,” Will told The Daily Catch Thursday afternoon. “Instinct kicked in and I just jumped off the bridge to save him.” Will said he swam about 10 feet off the spot where he entered the water to reach the youth, and Kyle joined him in the water as they worked together to haul the youth to shore. 

The incident transpired as a third friend, Colby Benassutti, also from Red Hook, stayed on the bridge, about 10 to 15 feet above the water, according to Lt. Zachary Hunter of the Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills Fire Department. (See the WBZ-CBS Boston news clip detailing the incident).

Jumping off bridges is a dangerous activity often halted by law enforcement, but it’s popular in summer on the Cape, Hunter said. It is not clear whether the boy who was rescued was unable to swim or injured himself as he hit the water, Hunter added. But Will said he heard the teen’s friends yelling that the boy couldn’t swim. He is believed to have lost consciousness quickly.

Kyle Richardson, also of Red Hook, was right near Will Anagnos in the water beneath the Craigville Bridge near Barnstable when the rescue took place (screenshot from WBZ-CBSBoston).

Will’s mother, Gidget Anagnos, said she credits her son’s swimming skills and cool demeanor under pressure. He’s had some training in swimming and what to do when there’s an emergency where you don’t really think about it. You just do it,” Gidget, 56, told The Daily Catch this morning.

Local firefighters were summoned to the beach through 911, Hunter said. Several police vehicles also responded.

Kyle said he was proud of the boys’ work. “I feel good, we saved someone’s life,” he told WBZ-CBS News in Boston. “But it was kind of scary in the moment. Really nerve-wracking.”

After the incident, the boys found Gidget lounging at the beach and nonchalantly informed her they had saved a life. “I cried,” she said. “Imagine that poor child, and then the mother getting the phone call that your son almost drowned. It’s too much.”

Gidget said that she is still choked up from the incident. “You know, we are humble people who don’t take things for granted,” she said. “He can be the biggest goofball in the world, but he did the right thing. My kids are great kids.”

Hunter said the boys, who were at the scene by chance and had no affiliation with the victim, deserve a commendation, and the fire department will be discussing a way to recognize them. “Their efforts were much appreciated and worthy of a commendation of some sort,” Hunter said. “They are good samaritans. We’re very pleased with their efforts.”

The Red Hook Board of Education frequently honors students who have accomplished deeds in academic or civic life. But school is out for the year, so a recognition would likely come in the fall.

Will and his twin brother Sam have taken swim lessons since they were 4 years old, and they are both working toward  Eagle Scout with Troop No. 3042 in Red Hook.

Gidget Anagnos, Will’s mom, is an active presence in the Red Hook community, recently organizing a fundraiser for Ukraine (photo courtesy Gidget Anagnos).

The rescued boy, who was unconscious after the rescue, suffered serious injuries and was rushed to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. His condition this morning was not immediately available. Gidget said she has not heard from the teen’s family.

This is not the first time Will has helped out in a pinch. Several weeks ago, on the Linden Avenue Middle School trip to Washington, D.C., he pitched in to help a woman who had fallen to the pavement and stayed with her throughout the trip to offer assistance, Gidget said. 

The boys and their older sister, Melanie, have learned from their mom to help those in need. Gidget, who works as a teacher’s aid at Mill Road Elementary School, organized a fundraiser several months ago that raised $10,000 for victims of the Ukraine War.

The boys and Gidget spent the day Thursday taking interviews with other media outlets in the Boston and Cape Cod area.

“I try to teach my children and my grandsons this is not just our world,” Gidget said as she sipped coffee in the kitchen of her cottage while Will slept in. “It’s everybody’s world, and we have to be compassionate of the world around us because there is so much misfortune in the world.”

4 responses to “Red Hook Teens Rescue a Drowning Boy on Cape Cod; Firefighters Celebrate Their Heroism”

  1. Cheryl Morrison says:

    Great job, boys! I love to read stories about the good our youth is doing in the World today, instead of seeing all the bad things they do or are involved in. We need more young adults like these two.

  2. Lori Santamaria says:

    What a fabulous story of quick thinking and bravery. These boys and their parents deserve to be quite proud!

  3. Pamela Sheehan says:

    Well done!!!!!

  4. Kristin ODell Cranna says:

    This is awesome! The quick thinking and bravery of these boys is just amazing.

Leave a Reply