Tomas Lopez, 21, was fired for leaving the section of the public beach he was paid to patrol -- and in doing so, leaving the swimmers he was responsible for unattended -- a supervisor for the employer, Jeff Ellis Management, told Orlando's Sun Sentinel earlier this week.
On Thursday afternoon, however, the company recanted the controversial decision that's made international headlines.
"I am of the opinion that the supervisors acted hastily. It was not the appropriate course of action to take," owner Jeff Ellis told the Sentinel.
Ellis said an investigation determined the area where Lopez was stationed wasn't unattended when he left the scene to help the swimmer.
Lopez said he was at his post Monday afternoon when someone ran to him for help. He spotted a man struggling in the water in an unprotected swimming area and ran to assist. He was fired a short time later.
"It was a long run, but someone needed my help. I wasn't going to say no," Lopez told the newspaper.
The man is being treated in hospital.
At least two other lifeguards have quit in protest.MORE