SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) – A Marin County Parks employee helped save an East Bay man from drowning at McNears Beach Park on Wednesday evening, a San Rafael fire captain said.

A passerby saw a man struggling in the water in the San Pablo Bay about 500 feet from the pier and called 911 around 6:30 p.m., fire Capt. Ryan Goodwin said this morning.

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Marin County Parks seasonal maintenance worker Louis Hernandez was working at the park when heard a radio dispatch about a possible drowning, Goodwin said.

When Goodwin, a paramedic and a fire engineer arrived about four minutes later, Hernandez had already thrown a ring buoy tied to a rope to the 29-year-old Richmond man and was pulling him to shore, Goodwin said.

The fire department crew helped Hernandez get the man out of the water, and an ambulance took him to Marin General Hospital, Goodwin said.

Goodwin said the victim had been standing on the pier when he dropped his keys in the water.

“The passerby saw him jump in, struggle and go underwater a couple times,” Goodwin said.

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The victim was suffering from hypothermia, and Goodwin said he asked emergency responders to warm up the back of the ambulance for him.

“We helped bring him up the embankment and took off his clothes,” Goodwin said, adding that the man was “extremely tired, lethargic and cold.”

“When he got to the hospital, his core temperature was 95 degrees. He was pretty hypothermic,” Goodwin said.

He said he has since been told that the man is doing well.

Marin County Parks Chief Park Ranger Rob Ruiz said Hernandez has worked as a general park maintenance worker on and off for six years.

Goodwin said he would like San Rafael and Marin County government officials to hold a ceremony recognizing Hernandez’s heroism.

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