A diver who was lost at sea has been rescued by his family, with the heartwarming moment caught on video.
Diver Dylan Gartenmayer was free diving off the coast of Florida on Thursday when the strong currents caused him to drift further than anticipated and lose sight of his friends and their boat.
"I got to a point where the boat had disappeared. And from that point on I realised that things were starting to get serious," Mr Gartenmayer said in a TikTok video as he recalled the incident.
Diver's survival instinct kicked in
After the daunting realisation that he was now alone in the water, Mr Gartenmayer immediately dropped the diving weights from his belt so he "wouldn't have to fight those" from pulling him down as he started to feel himself shiver from the cold.
After a large piece of bamboo drifted near to Mr Gartenmayer's position, he was able to rest for a while before deciding to swim the estimated two kilometres to the closest reef. Remaining resourceful, Mr Gartenmayer fashioned himself a raft after cutting loose three buoys from the reef and tying them together.
With the sun beginning to drop, the water began to buzz with marine life activity. Earlier he had an encounter with a sea turtle and then Mr Gartenmayer spotted a reef shark in the water near him, exacerbating his already dire situation.
Successful rescue mission
A rescue mission was well underway after Mr Gartenmayer's friends reported he went missing to the Coast Guard. After hours searching for him, a loved one spotted an oddly large buoy floating in the water.
After closer inspection, the family noticed that the buoy was in fact Mr Gartenmayer and they raced over to rescue him.
"I could hear the engines running and I just knew right from there that it was actually my grandfather's boat," he said with relief.
Mr Gartenmayer was brought back to shore and returned safely home.
People online felt the family's huge sense of relief.
"I don't think anybody understands, this is basically like winning lottery odds that they found him," someone said.
"What a miracle," said another.
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