Local teen recognized for heroism in Poplar Beach rescue

in Community/Featured/Headline

It was a heroic action amid a tragedy.

San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos Bolanos awarded Junipero Serra High graduate Andrew Abbey for his bravery and lifesaving efforts at Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay on Thursday, April 18.

That day, 18-year-old Naphtali Moimoi, a football star from Hayward, was boogie-boarding when he went underneath a wave and the board surfaced without him, according to the sheriff’s office.

Two of the teen’s friends rushed into the water but were unable to reach Moimoi, and one of those friends was also pulled into the rip current undertow, according to the report.

Abbey saw the distressed teen struggling and jumped into the water.

“Andrew maneuvered behind the teen, placed him in a lifesaving position and rescued him as Andrew brought him to shore,” according to the sheriff’s office. “Due to his quick actions, without regard for his own safety, Andrew was able to save the young man’s life.”

Tragically, Moimoi died.

Abbey, a Belmont native, is currently a freshman on the Men’s Track & Field team at Menlo College in Atherton.

Photo courtesy of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office