WHEN a 52-year-old Kiama spear fisherman found himself in distress at Storm Bay on Friday, he was rescued by two strangers.
The man was snorkelling and spearfishing while his wife was fishing close by when he got into difficulty.
According to his wife, he went under three times before 19-year-old Kiama Visitors Centre information officer James Malin, and 20-year-old Bill King came to his aid and pulled him from the water.
A Kiama Visitors Centre employee heard the screams for help, but it was Mr Malin and Mr King, who was carrying out electrical work at the centre at the time, who ran to the man's aid.
Mr Malin said Mr King jumped in the water to lift the man from below, while he helped pull him up from the rocks.
"He had a weight belt built into his wetsuit so it was tough," he said.
"He was not looking the greatest when he first came out - it was a bit scary for a while there."
Mr King said his only thought during the ordeal was getting the man out of the water.
"I just held his legs and pushed him up," he said.
Mr Malin said he would "absolutely" do it again if the situation arose.
"I didn't really think to be honest," he said.
"You don't think, you just do.
"It's good to have someone make a full recovery."
Members of the public called emergency services about 11.20am.
Lake Illawarra Police and Kiama lifeguards were the first on the scene, but Fire and Rescue NSW's Kiama unit and Kiama SES volunteers also responded.
Kiama supervising lifeguard Andy Mole said the diver appeared to have shortness of breath after the rescue, but was otherwise uninjured.