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TSA Headquarters Section Chief saves drowning woman

Thursday, September 5, 2019
TSA Headquarters Section Chief Walter Craig

A TSA headquarters employee is being hailed a hero after he risked his own life to rescue a woman from drowning during a boating trip in Aruba.

Walter Craig, a Section Chief in the Policy, Plans and Engagement (PPE) Cargo Division, was enjoying a boat tour when another passenger, Shantae Hall-Carder, jumped into the water to swim. She was wearing a floatation device but struggled to stay afloat and needed help.

Craig, who was already in the water, noticed she was in trouble.

“The only thing I thought was that I needed to help her,” said Craig, who estimates the water was over 20 feet deep. “At that moment, she went under water and came back up panicking with her arms flailing.”

Craig remained calm during the rescue, recalling that he “didn’t yell any instructions to her.”

“I figured she was in such a panic that she wouldn’t process what I was saying, so I just went to her,” he said. “She grabbed onto me and took me under the water, too, but I knew I had to keep control of the situation.” Using his legs, Craig had the strength to swim back to the boat where Hall-Carder was pulled to safety.

Both were in Aruba for a wedding, but didn’t know each other. Hall-Carder said, “If it weren’t for Walt’s immediate assistance, a near drowning could have been fatal. I can’t thank him enough. Walt should be honored for his heroic effort and celebrated, because he is a true hero.”

“I didn’t feel like I did anything special,” said Craig, “but I am honored she feels this way.”

“Walt did a heroic act for another human being,” said PPE Assistant Administrator Eddie Mayenschein. “He didn’t put himself first; he put Shantae first. That in itself speaks volumes of his character.”