Final week a household within the Florida Keys was in a position to rescue their 22-year-old son after he was whisked away by highly effective Gulf Stream currents and left stranded within the open ocean. The miraculous rescue of Dylan Gartenmayer was akin to discovering a needle in a haystack, and his discovery made for a strong and emotional reunion on the water. Priscilla Gartenmayer, Dylan’s cousin, recorded a video of that scene and shared it to TikTok, the place it has been considered 1000’s of instances.

@kwmermaidp So grateful 💙 #lostatsea #rescue #keywest #freedive #drifting #florida ♬ original sound – Priscilla Gartenmayer

Gartenmayer, an skilled free diver and spear fishermen, later informed reporters that earlier than he was rescued he was totally ready to spend his evening combating off sharks as we watched the solar sink down within the sky. After he was carried roughly a mile away from his boat and crew, search-and-rescue crews with the U.S. Coast Guard had spent hours trying to find him to no avail. Along with his remaining vitality, Gartenmayer situated some buoys and lashed them collectively to style a small raft. Then he watched as bait balls began erupting throughout him.

“I had a bunch of bait floating round me,” Gartenmayer informed NBC-6 News. “I knew that there have been large fish consuming these baits and there have been sharks that have been going to be shortly behind them. I used to be able to combat the evening out.”

Carried Away within the Gulf Stream

On Jan. 19, Gartenmayer and a pair buddies headed out for a day of freediving and spearfishing at Western Sambo Reef, a well known coral reef space close to Key West.

Gartenmayer had made a number of deep dives from the boat that day whereas his associates stored watch from above. With climate circumstances beginning to deteriorate, the group determined to move again to shore quickly. However Gartenmayer needed to make one closing dive, and that’s when issues went south (or technically talking, when issues went North).

Gartenmayer dove roughly 35 ft down, the place he was instantly carried away by the Gulf Stream, a strong ocean present that brings heat water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean and extends alongside the jap coast of North America. Unable to flee the highly effective present, he was pulled to depths of 150 ft and whisked distant from his buddies within the boat. Not in a position to see him, they notified Gartemayer’s household together with the Coast Guard. The USCG then despatched out a number of boats and plane in an effort to find him.

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An exhausted Gartenmayer surfaced roughly a mile away and swam to a channel marker, in accordance with NBC. He gathered some buoys and lashed them collectively right into a makeshift raft. He was shivering by this level, and he used the raft to maintain as a lot of his physique out of the water as doable. He was additionally seeing bait balls blowing up round him, and he knew all this exercise on the floor would draw predators in. He had already seen one reef shark swim previous. He waited there for hours, watching the solar go down as USCG planes flew overhead however failed to identify him.

“I had a small aircraft fly above however they didn’t see me, and about half-hour later they flew again once more, nonetheless didn’t see me,” Gartenmayer told reporters . “Shortly after that the solar had disappeared previous the horizon. As I noticed the solar disappear I knew issues have been beginning to get a bit of extra dire.”

Gartenmayers to the Rescue

Across the similar time the USCG launched its rescue mission, Dylan’s mom Tabitha was notified of the scenario by her ex-husband. The household and a number of other different associates shortly mobilized and launched their boat to affix within the search. They headed straight for Dylan’s final identified GPS coordinates and started searching for their lacking son.

Once they reached these coordinates and didn’t discover him, they continued trying within the fading mild. Ultimately one in every of Dylan’s associates pointed to a gaggle of buoys that gave the impression to be tied collectively and regarded misplaced.

Roughly 4 hours after he was whisked away and left stranded within the open ocean, Dylan heard his household earlier than he even noticed them.  

“I may hear the engines operating and I knew from there that was truly my grandfather’s boat,” he mentioned.

The Coast Guard defined that Gartenmayer’s diving abilities and survival instincts made all of the distinction that day, including that his resolution to lash buoys collectively helped make him extra seen and staved off hypothermia. Tabitha agreed that her son’s expertise on the water was essential, however she additionally gave credit score to the next energy.

“It’s a miracle we landed proper on my son in a needle in a haystack,” she mentioned. “You’re in the midst of the ocean, and that’s God.”

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