Moments with family and friends on board, rescue of freediver missing hours | US News

The emotional moment the family of a missing freediver found their loved one was alive before being reunited with him has gone viral after being caught on camera.

Dylan Gartenmayer, 22, was not seen for hours after being swept away by a powerful wave in Florida’s giant waves and resurfaced about a mile away .

Video taken on a boat carrying his family and friends shows them spotting Mr Gartenmayer in the water, with one exclaiming “he’s there!” while another yells “Dylan” before the others start Scream and jump up and down with joy.

The second clip, also filmed by his cousin Priscilla Gartenmeier, shows people with arms outstretched trying to grab him as he is swept away by the waves.

After a few seconds, he was able to walk to the stern and was hugged safely.

Rescuing Florida Freediver Dylan Gartenmayer
Mr Gartenmayer was found in the water

The videos have now gone viral on TikTok, with millions of views.

Before his disappearance, two of his friends had been keeping watch on a boat at the original site of his dive, which is on a coral reef miles from the Florida Keys.

Below the surface, Mr. Gartenmayer was freediving at a depth of about 35 feet when the current pushed him to 150 feet.

He said he held his breath underwater for nearly two minutes.

“So that’s why I ended up separating,” he said. “They mainly looked down and thought I was out of oxygen and passed out.”

“The scariest boat trip of our lives”

The alarm was sounded and his family then set out to find him on his grandfather’s boat – dubbed “the most terrifying journey of our lives” – with the assistance of the coastguard.

Mr Gartenmayer told US news channel NBC6 that after he resurfaced, he swam to the channel mark for a little more than a mile while holding on to a bamboo he found in the water.

Rescuing Freediver Dylan Gartenmayer
His loved ones stretched out their arms trying to grab him

His mother, Tabitha, said that during the family’s search, her son’s friend Joel spotted an unusual sight on the water — what appeared to be buoys connected together.

Mr Gartenmayer cut and tied the mooring balls together to create a makeshift raft. He said he “ended up cutting three off the reef and tying a little hammock”.

He was spotted shortly after seeing the buoy.

“I could hear a boat humming behind me,” the 22-year-old said. He heard the boat coming towards him packed with his family.

Once on board, he was transferred to a Coast Guard boat and taken ashore. His temperature was initially low, but once it stabilized, he was released an hour later.

“Smartest and most experienced diver I know”

His cousin Priscilla Gartenmayer recounted what happened on Facebook.

She wrote: “After gathering the family, we hopped on the contender and traveled to his last known coordinates on the scariest boat of our lives.

“God was definitely on our side because as soon as we stopped running out and started looking, we found him right away, almost at the exact coordinates we had given.”

He added: “The second video was the moment we all stared at him and I couldn’t stop watching.

“He was the smartest and most experienced diver I know on the water and he swam about two miles and before he lost his strength he grabbed three buoys and made a hammock to float himself on!”

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