KEY WEST, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida family had the scare of a lifetime when their son was swept out to sea for several hours.
The Gartenmayer family said they immediately went on a rescue mission to find 22-year-old Dylan Gartenmayer, who got caught in a powerful gulf stream current and carried away from his friends, according to WTVJ.
A family member captured the moment they spotted Gartenmayer in the water. The video has now gone viral on TikTok.
Gartenmayer said he was free diving at about 35 feet when the current swept him out to waters as deep as 150 feet. He told the news station that he was underwater for almost two minutes.
Gartenmayer said he resurfaced about a mile from where he was initially diving. He swam over a mile to a channel marker while clutching bamboo he found drifting in the water.
“I could see Coast Guard out in the distance to the west of me. I could see their blue lights, the helicopter going, doing their grid pattern,” Gartenmayer said. “My bamboo had started drifting away from me.”
With the U.S. Coast Guard searching by air and sea, Gartenmayer’s family went to his last known coordinates.
“We had the coordinates that were given to us, but he obviously wasn’t on those,” his mother told the news station.
She said Gartenmayer’s friend spotted buoys that appeared to be tied together.
Shortly after spotting the buoys, the family spotted Gartenmayer.
“My mom took my dive gear. She just started hugging, crying,” Gartenmayer said.
“It’s a miracle. We landed right on my son. And a needle in a haystack. You’re in the middle of the ocean. And that’s God,” Gartenmayer’s mother said.