Paul Alimoren and friends were not ‘out swimming’ when he was swept to sea
LOS ANGELES – In an August 2 article, Asian Journal reported that Fil-Am teen Paul Alimoren was believed to have drowned after he saved two of his friends from a dangerous rip current during a beach trip with his church group in Ocean Shores, Wash. According to reports from this newspaper and other news outlets, Paul and several friends were swimming when they were caught in a rip current around 8pm on Saturday, July 26. Witnesses said that five in the group were able to make it to the safety of the shore with relative ease, while two others had a difficult time swimming to the shore, due to exhaustion and possible water ingestion. Paul was supposedly able to help the two struggling friends to shore before he himself was swept out to sea by the currents. Not swimming On Monday, August 4, Candy Gudino, a friend of the Alimoren family, reached out to Asian Journal to clarify some facts, saying that Paul and his friends were not “out swimming” during the incident as initially reported on this newspaper. “Speaking on behalf of the Alimorens, I’d like to clarify that they [the teens] were not ‘out swimming’ as previously reported. They were just at the beach enjoying a bonfire as a group,” Gudino, 40, said in a telephone interview. The details that emerged during Gudino’s interview with Asian Journal were supposedly based on firsthand accounts of the teens who were present during the incident. Gudino’s retelling of the incident provided a clearer perspective of what transpired during that fateful afternoon. While the teens were sitting around the bonfire, some of the girls among the group had the idea of walking towards the water ‘just to get their feet wet.’ The boys wanted to join their friends in the water. “Let’s go chase them, just for fun,” Gudino quoted one of the boys as saying. At this point, Gudino said, the water was about knee-deep. “Suddenly, it went up to the waist and that’s when the rip current hit them,” Gudino said. Seventeen-year old Ember, who was among the teens caught in the waves, was in a “calm state of mind,” Gudino said. Ember was able to make it to safety by swimming in a direction parallel to the current. Once on the shore, she screamed for the others to do the same. But in the panic and confusion, nobody heard her instructions very well. Dessa Alimoren, Paul’s 15-year old sister was also among the group. Dessa was making headway towards the shore and was also trying to help Paul make it to safety. “Paul pulled on Dessa’s shirt and hair while they were swimming towards the shore,” Gudino said. While most of the group made it to the shore, two people were struggling to make it to safety. “And then, when Paul realized that two of their friends were struggling to get out, Paul then looked at Dessa in the eyes, and without saying any words, gestured for Dessa to go ahead and get to the shore,” Gudino said. That’s when Paul went back to save Litia, a 20-year-old female, and Angel, an 18-year-old male. He first went to get Litia, who held on to his arm to stay afloat as they stroked for shallow waters. However, when a rogue wave hit them, Litia and Paul got separated. According to Gudino, Paul pushed Litia towards the shore at that point. Then, Paul went back to get Angel. When Paul was able to get to Angel, another dangerous wave hit the two of them. Angel, just like Litia, also felt that Paul pushed him towards the shore. After Paul pushed Angel, another rogue wave hit them, and that’s when Angel turned around and realized that Paul was nowhere to be seen. Search and rescue Tyler, another teen who was in the water, was able to swim to the shore on his own, and once there, he yelled for help. Jay Nepomuceno, the youth group leader from Lighthouse Baptist Church, called 911 upon learning of the situation. When emergency responders arrived, they searched the area all Saturday night until 12:30am, Sunday morning. Search and rescue efforts resumed Sunday morning, and went on for most of the day. When no signs of Paul were found, he was presumed dead by rescue officials. “I believe [the official status] is still ‘presumed dead.’ According to the Coast Guard, if within eight hours, your body is not found, you are presumed dead because of hypothermia,” Gudino said. Paul’s father, Ray Alimoren, who had spoken to rescue officials, relayed to the family that the Coast Guard and local police are still keeping an eye out for Paul, and are still patrolling the shores. While the experience has proven to be a tough ordeal for the family, it seems that they are able to remain strong, positive, and optimistic, all thanks to the support of family, friends and their steadfast faith in God. “[The Alimorens] are so thankful for all the prayers, the thoughts, text messages, emails, and Facebook messages from all over the world. And they’re still hoping that they an find [Paul’s] body anytime soon,” Gudino said. Memorial set A memorial for Paul has been set on Friday, August 15, to be held at the Lighthouse Baptist Church in La Verne, Calif. According to Philip, the location is not yet final, but they will inform friends, family, and well-wishers if they will move to memorial to another venue. Because of the family’s deeply rooted spirituality, they were able to deal with this ordeal with composure. “I know many of you may be wondering, why [God doesn’t] allow us to find Paul and bring him home. I had these same thoughts run through my mind, but [I] push them away. We can’t question the Lord, we only trust that He knows best. Many of us want that closure. But His ways are not our ways,” Philip wrote on Facebook. While many friends and family are “desperate” to bury Paul, Philip reminded people of Psalm 116, in the event that his brother’s body is not found. “Precious in the sight of the LORD are the death of his saints,” Philip wrote, “Just like Moses of old, God Himself buried my brothers body. So don’t fight with these thoughts [sic], but instead give glory to God in the fact that my brother had the honor of being buried by Him, and taken home to see Him that same day.” Gail, Paul’s mother has been able to find some sense of closure in this whole process, Gudino said. However, she went on to add that Ray still holds on to a thread of hope that his son may have survived the ordeal. Gudino revealed that on Saturday, August 2, Ray came home late in the afternoon, after searching for his son one last time. “He was just crying, sobbing, saying ‘I tried, I tried. I wanted to bring my boy home,” Gudino said. – See more at: http://asianjournal.com/news/paul-alimoren-and-friends-were-not-out-swimming-when-he-was-swept-to-sea/#sthash.PneVcgqU.dpuf
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