Watch emotional reunion as family rescues son lost at sea for hours


Dylan Gartenmayer was free diving when a current pulled him away from his boat.

Thousands have been moved by a viral video that captured the joyous moment a family found and rescued their 22-year-old son who was lost at sea for hours after free diving in Florida.

According to CNN, Dylan Gartenmayer was drift diving near Key West Thursday afternoon when a strong ocean current pushed him far away from his boat.

“The current ended up taking me faster and faster from them, and it got to the point where the boat just disappeared,” Gartenmayer told USA Today. “At that point, I realized things were starting to get serious.” 

Gartenmayer’s friends on the boat were unable to see him when he came back to the surface of the water, CNN reported. They searched for him for 30 minutes before calling the Coast Guard.

Meanwhile, Gartenmayer used a bamboo stick to help him stay afloat while he swam two miles back to the reef he had been diving in. An experienced diver, he then fashioned two mooring balls into a makeshift raft to stay afloat while he waited for rescue.

On shore, his family got word that Gartenmayer had been missing for two hours and quickly got in his grandfather’s boat to begin searching at the coordinates where he was last seen.

The family searched for Gartenmayer until, just before dark, a flashlight hit him and he raised his hands, CNN reported. They then pulled the shivering diver onto the boat to safety.

“They [Coast Guard] would’ve came and found me eventually, but by some miracle my parents and everyone else on board my grandfather’s boat had ended up driving and basically landed right on top of me,” Gartenmayer told USA Today

In the video, you can hear family members shout “There he is!” and “Dylan!” before one shouts “That’s him! That’s him!” and the family begins jumping up and down and crying out with joy.

When Gartenmayer gets onto the boat, you can see his family immediately pull him into a hug.

Gartenmayer came out of the incident seemingly unscathed, CNN reported, with the Coast Guard evaluating him and finding only that his temperature was slightly below normal. He was released an hour later when his temperature returned to normal.

“Too often missing diver cases don’t have positive outcomes, and the circumstances of this case didn’t forecast for one,” Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Elizabeth Tatum said in a statement to USA Today.  “Sunset, weather conditions, and Dylan’s outfit were playing against us in this case, but his foresight to lash mooring balls together to make him a bigger target in the water was smart.” 

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