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February 2023    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 49, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Lost and Found - How Lucky He Is

from the February, 2023 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

A Florida Keys spearfisher underwent a dramatic experience when a sudden down current transformed his 10m free-dive into a rapid descent into deeper waters - but he survived to tell the tale after spending some three hours missing at sea.

Dylan Gartenmayer, 22, was boat diving several miles off Key West on January 19 with two friends as surface cover. Conditions had been deteriorating, but he had insisted on one more dive when the incident occurred.

He had to maintain his breath hold for about two minutes before regaining the surface, by which time he was a long way from the boat.

Gartenmayer, wearing a wetsuit and carrying a snorkel, swam about a mile partly supported on floating bamboo he had found, to reach a channel marker buoy. He managed to cut and fasten together three mooring buoys to form a makeshift raft.

His friends, assuming that he had blacked out underwater, had raised the alarm when he failed to reappear.

As the U.S. Coastguard launched a search operation, the freediver's family and friends joined on his grandfather's boat and spotted the diver's raft.

"As soon as we stopped running out and started looking, we spotted him at almost the exact coordinates we were given," said one of the family search party." (divernet)

The rescue was captured on a phone video.

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