Aug. 14, 2013 at 10:26 AM ET
A teenager thanked Prince William on Wednesday for saving her life last year while on duty as a search-and-rescue pilot.
Sharon West said the Duke of Cambridge came to her aid after she got caught in a riptide. "I just wanted to thank you for rescuing me last year,” she told the prince at his first official public engagement Wednesday, according to the U.K.'s Press Association.
"Was it you on the beach, you and your sister? How are you, are you all right?" William asked, prompting West to reply: “Thank you.” Prince William deflected the credit, calling the effort “a team thing,” and one of the fastest rescues they'd completed.
The two met while William attended a county fair in Wales, where he serves as a helicopter pilot for the Royal Air Force. After the meeting, West told a local television station that the prince and his squadron "saved my life.
"He rescued me when I got swept out to sea. If he'd been a few seconds later I wouldn't be here today," she said.
Earlier Wednesday, the prince mingled with the crowd at the fair, sounding every bit the proud papa while describing his month-old son, Prince George.
“He’s pretty loud and, of course, extremely good-looking,” he said. “I have to say, I thought search-and-rescue duties over Snowdonia were physically and mentally demanding, but looking after a 3-week-old baby is right up there.”
The Duke of Cambridge is about to conclude his current three-year tour of military duty and, most likely, the military altogether. That means he and his wife, Duchess Kate, would leave the Welsh community they have called home since getting married in 2011. They are expected to move into the newly renovated Kensington Palace.
The couple have spent the last several weeks in the rambling estate belonging to Kate's parents, about an hour from London in Bucklebury.
However, Kate has not made any public appearance since giving birth to Prince George on July 22. She and the baby are expected to join the baby's great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, later this month at the queen’s Scotland vacation home, Balmoral Castle.