Diver Rescued by Family After Being Swept Out to Sea Says He Lost Hope as Sun Began to Set
Dylan Gartenmayer, 21, was free-diving near a reef in Key West when a sudden current took hold of him on the ocean floor. By the time he surfaced, Dylan had been dragged a mile out to sea, and completely lost sight of his friends and the boat.
Dylan Gartenmayer, 21, was free-diving near a reef in Key West when a sudden current took hold of him on the ocean floor.
By the time he surfaced, Dylan had been dragged a mile out to sea, and completely lost sight of his friends and the boat.
He tells Inside Edition that he tried to get the attention of his friends despite not knowing the location of the boat.
"I was he shouting for them," says Dylan, "They couldn't hear me and I was getting dragged further away from land."
Dylan ultimately found himself two miles from where he had been diving that day and realized that he had to make his way back to the reef if he had any chance of being located by the Coast Guard.
He then began to swim, using a bamboo stick to help keep him afloat.
Once back at the reef, fear began to set in, and Dylan started to worry that there was little hope of being rescued come sundown.
"Yeah, at one point, whenever that sun is set, that's gonna be the end," says Dylan.
Little did he know that his family had formed their own rescue team and were heading out to the reef where Dylan had been spearfishing earlier that day.
"You get this call, and it's a call you never want to get," says Dylan's mom Tabitha. "My heart just stopped; I just couldn't even breathe."
Video posted to social media shows just how quickly the family responded to the news, with a neighbor filming video of the family's boat racing down a local canal before speeding out to sea.
A short while later, they noticed a young man bobbing on the water.
"As soon as we got him on the boat, I just held him tight because he was freezing, shaking," says Tabitha. "You keep on replaying this over and over and over again in your head. It's a miracle."
By then, the sun had set and Dylan had been lost at sea for almost four hours. He and his relieved family then headed home.
As for Dylan, he says that he will be back in the water spearfishing in the "near future," despite his day at sea.
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