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Florida family rescues son swept out to sea in viral TikTok

The emotional moment was captured in a TikTok that has now been seen by more than 31 million people.
Credit: doncon402 - stock.adobe.com
FILE: Sunset in the Florida Keys

KEY WEST, Fla. — In what some would call a miracle, a family was reunited with their 22-year-old son who was lost at sea for hours last week in the Florida Keys.

The emotional moment was captured in a TikTok that has now been seen by more than 31 million people.

Dylan Gartenmayer was out freediving with his friends on Thursday when the conditions on the water started getting rough. He decided to do one last dive and went down about 35 feet when the current pulled him under, NBC 6 South Florida reports. 

Dylan was underwater for about two minutes, going as deep as 150 feet and resurfacing about a mile from where he originally was, according to the news station.

His friends contacted the Gartenmayer family, who didn't hesitate to get to work. While the Coast Guard was looking for Dylan by air and sea, his family set out on their own rescue mission.

"After calling the fam together we hopped on the contender and had the scariest boat ride of our life out to his last known coordinates. God was definitely on our side because as soon as we stopped running out and started looking, we spotted him right away at almost the exact coordinates we were given," his cousin Priscilla Gartenmayer wrote on Facebook.


So thankful 💙 #lostatsea #rescue #keywest #freedive #drifting #florida

♬ original sound - Priscilla Gartenmayer

Priscilla, who posted the now-viral TikTok, said Dylan swam about two miles before he lost his energy, grabbed three buoys and tied them together to make a hammock to float on.

In the video, the boat full of family and friends can be heard shouting, "there he is!" and jumping up and down in celebration when they realized they spotted Dylan on the water.

A follow-up video shows the moment Dylan climbed back in the boat and got to hug his family.

"My mom took my dive gear. She just started hugging, crying,” Dylan told NBC 6.

And apparently, even a scary experience like this isn't going to keep the 22-year-old from doing what he loves.

The Gartenmayers are a family of experienced spearfishers and freedivers. Dylan told the news outlet he often goes "over 100-plus feet on a single breath," and he intends to get right back in the water.

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