After getting washed away by the Gulf Stream while free diving more than 5 miles from the Florida Keys, a 22-year-old man was found and saved.
Last Thursday, diver and spearfisher Dylan Gartenmayer went on his last dive of the day in the West Sambo Reef with two buddies by his side.
His failure to surface shocked his buddies, who then alerted the US Coast Guard and his family.
He was discovered clinging to two buoys he had torn from the reef about four hours after he was last seen and kilometers into the ocean.
Gartenmayer has more than 10 years of free diving and spearfishing expertise. He was reared in the Keys. We adore the ocean since we are Key West locals. Dylan was inside of me when I was spearfishing,’ his mother Tabitha told NBC6.
He went for one more dive on January 19 as he and two companions were about to wind down for the day since the water conditions were becoming worse.
He was around 35 feet below when, all of a sudden, currents carried him out to a depth of 150 feet, holding him underwater for two minutes.
Gartenmayer remarked, “I prefer to go above 100 plus feet on a single breath since I do a lot of deep free diving.”
When he failed to return, his buddies who were waiting on the boat were worried. They were largely staring down, believing that I had fainted from oxygen deprivation, he added.
They then alerted his family to start a search effort, informed the Coast Guard, and shared the GPS coordinates of his last dive site with everyone.
According to a message from his buddy Sean Caggiano, “Friend diving went diving and is lost in this region near Western Sambo Reef at these coordinates. Coast Guard is looking if anybody has a fast boat and can help look before the sun goes down.”
The sun was scheduled to set that day at 6:03 p.m., to the closest minute.
His family set off to look for him on his grandfather’s boat. They spoke of the remarkable moment when one of his boatmates saw two buoys linked together only a few minutes after they arrived at the reef.
Just 0.3 miles from where he had dropped and four hours later, they came across him at the surface. Caggiano issued an update stating that his companion has been located at 6:37 p.m.
Video of the incident shows family members and friends applauding as Gartenmayer paddles towards their boat while brandishing his spear rifle.
He was brought to the shore after being transferred to a coast guard boat once on board. Despite having an initially low fever, he was discharged one hour later.
He recounted what occurred after being saved. He claims that after being pulled by the currents, he came to the surface approximately a mile from the entrance.
Around me, a lot of bait was exploding. I was aware that large fish were consuming the bait. Gartenmayer told NBC6, “I was prepared to fight the night out, but I’m pleased I didn’t have to.
After he surfaced, he continued swimming while grasping a piece of bamboo for approximately a mile to a channel sign.
He could see a coast guard boat and a helicopter searching at that time, but the diversion led him to lose the bamboo that was holding him afloat.
I could make out the coast guard in the distance to my west. Helicopter moving, blue lights flashing, grid pattern visible, he claimed.
Without the bamboo, he utilized buoys he cut from the reef to keep himself afloat. In the end, he continued, “I cut three of them off the reef and tied up a tiny hammock.”
He reported how he could hear the boat’s motor buzzing.
“My mother stole my scuba gear.” She just began sobbing and embracing,” said Gartenmayer.
When his cousin Priscilla Gartenmayer took recordings of crucial parts of the rescue operation and posted them online, the narrative quickly gained popularity.
He’s the most knowledgeable and skilled diver I know to be on the sea, she said. He swam around two kilometers before running out of energy and building himself a hammock out of three buoys.
It’s a miracle we found my kid in a needle in a haystack, he said. You’re in the midst of the ocean, therefore that must be god, his mother Tabby remarked.