Sarasota mystery surfer rescuer found - WFLA News Channel 8

Sarasota mystery surfer rescuer found

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Honeymoon couple meets surfer teen rescuer Honeymoon couple meets surfer teen rescuer
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

On Wednesday, News Channel 8 reported the story of a honeymooner who nearly lost his life.

He was caught in a rip current off turtle beach until he was rescued by a mysterious teenager.

The teen brought him back to shore and then vanished and the man never got to say thank you. 

Related story:
Man wants to thank Sarasota mystery rescuer

But News channel 8 got in touch with the teen hero and was there for the reunion. 

On Monday night, Jonathan Kiviniemi went out for a swim in the gulf, and the waves nearly kept him there.

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

He was caught in a rip current. Kiviniemi and his wife Alexa were at the beach celebrating their honeymoon. During the terror all she could do was watch.

Alexa Miller said, "He was going to die."

Suddenly, Kiviniemi was not alone. He said, "Out of nowhere, from what I could see, this kid on a surfboard threw me a surfboard and I grabbed on, and started pulling me to shore"

A mysterious teen saved his life and then he was gone.

"I saw him and his mom exiting…and they were gone. Couldn't find him, couldn't thank him, anything,” said Kiviniemi. "I don't know who he is, or where he's from or anything but hopefully we can find him."

The teen’s parents caught wind of the story and reached out to News Channel 8.

The hero was their son- 15-year-old Sam Somogyi.

"[Kiviniemi] and his wife were embracing each other, and I thought, my duty was done,” said Somogyi.

The teen had finished a long day at school and rowing practice, so he decided to hit the waves at Turtle Beach.

He was done surfing for the day and was on his way back in when he spotted the man.

He happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Somogyi said, "I was surfing. I had the wave, and he came out of nowhere. I saw his head pop up and I nearly ran him over."

The high school sophomore says survival instincts kicked in. He didn’t know what he was doing.

The teen said, "At the beginning, he was kinda freaking out, he was out of breath, and then by the end he was helping me."

Once on land, the fifteen year old couldn't stick around, he had to study for a test.

"It was a long day, I was tired, I was hungry, I had homework, I had stuff to do, yeah,” said Somogyi.

And that could've been the end of the story.

But for Kiviniemi, that could've been the end of his life.

So on Thursday Kiviniemi had a chance to say thank you to his young hero.

A title Somogyi doesn’t think he deserves.

"I don't find myself like that, I just did what I could've done."
 
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