Scuba diver Pablo Avila got into difficulties near Catalina Island, off San Diego, California but luckily was rescued by a group of mermaids.
While Pablo was having a little trouble with his breathing equipment, he wasn’t hallucinating – his rescuers were a group of local female students taking the advanced PADI mermaid rescue course.
Pablo’s dive buddy, Javier Claramunt, said: “It was something out of a fairy tale, being saved by a mermaid”.
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Elaina Marie Garcia, who led the group of rescuers, says that they happened to be practising their life-saving techniques when they spotted Pablo.
The diver had lost consciousness, and might not have survived if the mermaid group hadn’t been on hand to help.
Javier told FOX 11 that he and a fellow diver were having trouble getting this stricken comrade back to shore: “We’re pulling him, and we’re getting a little winded and a little tired out and then out of nowhere, a bunch of mermaids show up,” he said.
Elaina explains that the group was practicing the techniques for rescuing another mermaid when they noticed Pablo struggling and coughing foam – the tell-tale symptom of an air embolism – the mermaids worked together to save him.
The mermaids stripped off Pablo’s gear, and gave him mouth -to-mouth before hauling him back to nearby Casino Point.
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At Casino Point, Pablo was placed into a decompression chamber, where he was slowly but safely restored to health.
Swimming in the ocean while wearing a “mermaid tail” has become increasingly popular, with a world championship tournament bringing together the most able swimmers from the US to China.
“Mermaiding” began as a special effect in movies but really began to pick up in 2004, with ecology activist Hannah Fraser.
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Hannah, daughter of pioneering rock bassist Andy Fraser, made her first mermaid tail at the age of 9, inspired by 1984 film Splash.
Hannah has since used her mermaid fame to advance ocean ecology causes.
She caused a sensation in 2013 by free diving with a Great White Shark, unprotected by either armour or cage for the TV documentary Beyond the Cage of Fear.
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