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on video | Surrounded by sharks, a lost young diver is rescued in extremes by his family

A 21-year-old diver has been miraculously rescued by his family after being swept away by the Gulf Stream while diving more than five miles from the Florida Keys.

Dylan Gartenmeyer, a diver and spear fisherman, described the moment he heard the purr of his grandfather’s boat as he watched helplessly as the sun set over shark-infested waters.

A few hours before noon on Thursday, Mr. Gartenmayer was with two friends on a boat, when he decided to take one last dive around West Sambo Reef.

“I do a lot of deep freediving, so I like to dive more than 30 meters deep in one breath,” explained the young man.

However, his friends, who had been waiting on the boat, began to worry when he did not return. Gartenmeier said they believe he passed out due to a lack of oxygen.


The facts were no less disturbing. In fact, during this dive Mr. Gartenmayer was just over 10 meters below the surface when the currents carried him to a depth of more than 45 metres.

The diver was under water for about two minutes. It was spit about a mile away.

His friends alerted the US Coast Guard and his family, who began a desperate search, racing off into the sunset.

After getting out, Mr. Gartenmayer swam for more than a mile towards the reef, where he cut the mooring buoys which he had tied together to form a makeshift raft.

“I was watching the sunset very quickly,” the young man said in a video posted on social media.

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Mackerel started swarming around, attracting the attention of the sharks.

“I saw a reef shark pass by,” he said.

As the temperature began to drop and it started to get cold, the diver used buoys to keep his body as far out of the water as possible.

“By then, I was starting to shiver and my hands were a little numb, as were my toes, so I knew it was starting to get serious,” he detailed.

The rescue mission of coast guard boats and aircraft was underway.

“A small plane flew over me, but they didn’t see me,” recalled Mr. Gartenmeier. About 30 minutes later they came back, but they didn’t see me yet.

The scenario would repeat itself with a helicopter and a boat, both of which would pass into the distance without noticing.

Soon after, the sun disappeared from the horizon. To the east, it was dark.

“When I saw the sun go down, I knew things were starting to get worse,” he said.

But after a few moments, he heard the sound of engines and recognized his grandfather’s voices.

His family had been searching for him for several hours already.

Just minutes after he reached the reef, a friend of Mr. Gartenmeyer said he saw something strange in the distance: buoys were drifting together.

As they approached, they saw him on the surface, just under 500 meters from where he had dived four hours earlier.


In the video, Mr. Gartenmeier’s family and friends can be seen crying out emotionally when they spot him.

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“My mom took out my scuba gear. She started hugging me, crying,” Gartenmeier said.

“It is a miracle that we fell upon my son, like a needle in a haystack. You are in the middle of the ocean,” said the young man’s mother.

Once aboard, he was transferred to a Coast Guard boat and taken ashore. Although he initially had a low temperature, he was discharged from the Coast Guard an hour later.