The family of a missing freediver saw their loved one alive in the water before being reunited with him, and the emotional moment was caught on camera and has gone viral.
Dylan Gartenmayer, 22, was not seen for several hours after he was swept under a strong current and resurfaced a mile away in the Florida waves.
Video taken on a boat full of family and friends shows them watching Mr Gartenmayer in the water, with one man shouting “There he is!” yelling, while another shouts “Dylan”, before the others start screaming and jumping up and down. Happiness
A second clip, also filmed by his cousin Priscilla Gartenmayer, shows people stretching out their arms to try to catch him as he is swept away by the waves.
And then seconds later he manages to make it to the back of the boat and to safety, where he is embraced.
The videos have now gone viral on TikTok with millions of views.
Before he disappeared, two of his friends were watching a boat at the exact spot where he dived, a reef several miles off the Florida Keys.
Below the surface, Mr. Gartenmayer was freediving at a depth of about 35 feet, when the current pushed him down 150 feet.
He said he was underwater for about two minutes, when he stopped breathing.
He said that this is how I got separated. “They were basically looking down, thinking I had blacked out from lack of oxygen.”
‘The scariest boat ride of our lives’
The alarm was raised and his family then set out to search for him on his grandfather’s boat – described as “the scariest ride of our lives” – and the coastguard helped in the search. .
Mr Gartenmayer told US news channel NBC 6 that after resurfacing he swam just over a mile to a channel mark, holding on to bamboo he found in the water.
His mother, Tabitha, said that while searching for the family, her son’s friend Joel noticed an unusual sight on the water — buoys that appeared to be tied together.
Mr. Gartenmayer had cut mooring balls and tied them together to make a makeshift raft. He said he “hewed three of them out of the rock and tied a little hammock”.
He was spotted shortly after seeing the sows.
“I could hear a boat behind me,” the 22-year-old said. The vessel he heard heading towards him was full of his family.
Once aboard, he was transferred to a Coast Guard boat and taken ashore. His body temperature was low at first but once it stabilized he was released after just one hour.
‘The smartest, most experienced diver I know’
Her cousin, Priscilla Gartenmayer, described what happened on Facebook.
He wrote: “After calling the fam together we jumped the gun and took the scariest boat ride of our lives to its last known coordinates.
“God was definitely with us because as soon as we stopped running and started looking, we immediately saw him at almost the exact coordinates that were given to us.”
He added: “That second video was the moment we all stared at it, I can’t stop watching it.
“He’s the smartest, most experienced diver I know on the water. He swam about two miles and before he lost his energy he grabbed three buoys and made a hammock for himself to swim in!”
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