Man wants to thank Sarasota mystery rescuer - WFLA News Channel 8

Man wants to thank Sarasota mystery rescuer

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL -

A tourist in Sarasota is alive today thanks to a mysterious teenager.

Earlier this week, the man nearly drowned as he was caught in a rip current at Turtle Beach.

The man wants a chance to say "thank you".

Jonathan Kiviniemi and his wife Alexa Miller are spending the week at Turtle Beach for their honeymoon.

On Monday evening, they went to the beach together.

Alexa went to snap photographs but Jonathan swam right out into the water.

There was a warning out there, but he swam anyway, and soon regretted it.

“There was a riptide warning, I wasn’t paying attention to it, probably should’ve being from out of town,” he said.

Kiviniemi said, "A wave crashed over my head that I didn't see, ducked me under. Came back up. When I came up, another wave hit me, started to get water in my throat and stuff."

"Absolutely terrifying,” said Alexa Miller.

Kiviniemi said, "[I] tried to find my way back in, couldn't. Started getting weaker and weaker, I started yelling for help."

"He was going to die,” said Miller.

Suddenly, a young boy, around 13 or so, was swimming with a yellow surfboard back to shore.

Miller heard the boy's mother yelling at him.

“She was yelling at him, ‘Dane! Go get him! Go get him!” said Miller.

In the meantime, Kiviniemi was still struggling in the water.

He said, "For me, he came out of nowhere. I was fighting to stay up and all of a sudden this surfboard pops in front of me and he was like, ‘Grab a hold!’

The teen had Kiviniemi climb onto the board as they swam to shore.

Kiviniemi said, "He's a little kid, I'm thinking- how are you saving me? So I was worried about him being alright because the board started crashing him under. He goes, 'I'm fine. Just stay on the board and hold on.' And I kept asking if he was ok and if I should let go and he said 'No, just hold on to the board.' And he brought me all the way back in."

They arrived to shore, and Kiviniemi embraced his wife. But then he looked up.

He said, "I saw [the teen] and his mom exiting right there, and they were gone. Couldn't find him, couldn't thank him, anything."

No chance to show their gratitude.

Miller said, "I’m not sure my husband would be here if it wasn't for him."

"I don't know who he is, or where he's from or anything but hopefully we can find him."

Kiviniemi wants the opportunity to thank the rescuer before he leaves the area this weekend.

If you have any information, Kiviniemi can be reached at Jkivinie@umail.iu.edu

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