A former Italian Olympic swimmer is being praised for saving a married gay man from drowning.
According to the BBC, 45-year-old Andrea Benedetto recently married his boyfriend in Cagliari, Italy. The two were then celebrating with a beach trip on the island of Sardinia. But disaster struck while on the water.
The pair were sitting in an inflatable unicorn when Benedetto fell into the water, which was colder than expected. Even worse, Benedetto was incapable of moving his limbs because of a medical condition, according to friend and journalist Soroush Pakzad.
All Benedetto’s husband could do was try to keep Benedetto’s head above water and cry out for help with their friends. Thankfully, former swimming champ Filippo Magnini was in the area and dived in to rescue the drowning man.
“I did what I had to do,” said Magnini, who won bronze in the 2004 Athens Olympics and was the world champion in the 100m freestyle in 2005 and 2007.
“The bather was in a lot of trouble: he was quite frightened, he was really stuck and had swallowed some seawater,” Magnini said, according to Italy’s Corriere dello Sport.
“When I reached him he wasn’t even able to speak, and it wasn’t easy to lift him on to the raft, so we laid him on an airbed that some other bathers had nearby.”
As for Benedetto, he says he’s thankful for his Olympic hero.
“When I became conscious my first thought was about my husband,” he said.
“A few hours after the accident I was at the hospital when I realized that Filippo Magnini was the man who saved my life but I didn’t have any chance to thank him as I have no contact with him. I hope to be able to thank him in person.”