‘His daughters saved his life.’ Friend describes aftermath of WRAL anchor Hogan’s beach accident
WRAL News anchors Jeff Hogan and Brad Johansen, both new to North Carolina in the past year, were enjoying Wrightsville Beach with their families Saturday when a freak accident left Hogan hospitalized.
On Monday, Johansen described what happened to his friend.
The surf was rough, and red flags were flying, although dozens of people remained in the water, and lifeguards had not whistled them out.
Hogan, a seasoned triathlete, was body surfing with his daughters when a wave slammed him face down into a sand bar.
Johansen was about a half-mile away when his son ran to tell him his friend had been badly injured.
Hogan never lost consciousness, Johansen said.
“He said, ‘I saw stars. I knew I banged really bad, but I was aware of what was going on around me,’” Johansen said.
Still, Hogan could not move.
Johansen said one of Hogan’s daughters pulled him up enough so that he could get a deep breath.
“His daughters really saved his life,” Johansen said.
Others arrived to pull him from the surf, and Hogan spent the weekend in a Wilmington hospital. By Monday, he was able to take a few steps.
Standing by his friend and supporting Hogan’s family, Johansen was able to see that the outcome could have been much worse.
He said, “When you think about how bad it could have been, and the grace that we have that his daughters were able to be by his side at that time when I was not, and the grace of people who did not know him who were able to pull him up ... and his presence of mind to be able to self-preserve at that time, it all fit into a real, big blessing of how he’s going to come out of this.”
Hogan will take time off from WRAL-TV while he recovers from his injuries.