The emotional moment the family of a missing diver spotted their loved one alive in the water before being reunited with him has gone viral after it was caught on camera.
Dylan Gartenmeier, 22, was not seen for several hours after a strong current took him under the waves off Florida and resurfaced about a kilometer away.
In a video shot on board a boat packed with his family and friends, they can be seen spotting Mr Gartenmeier in the water, with one person yelling “There he is!” while another shouts “Dylan”, before others start screaming and jumping up- down. joy
Another video, also taken by his cousin Priscilla Gartenmeyer, shows people reaching out to try to catch him as he is swept away by the waves.
And then seconds later he is able to make his way to the back of the boat and to safety, where he is embraced.
The videos have now gone viral with millions of views on TikTok.
Before he disappeared, two of his friends were keeping watch on the boat at the original spot where he dived, which was off a reef a few miles from the Florida Keys.
Below the surface, Mr. Gartenmeier was diving to a depth of about 35 feet when the current pushed him 150 feet.
He said he was underwater for almost two minutes, holding his breath.
“So that’s how I ended up splitting up,” he said. “Mostly they were looking down, thinking I had passed out from lack of oxygen.”
‘The scariest boat ride of our life’
The alarm was raised and his family then set out on their grandfather’s boat in search of him – described as “the scariest ride of our lives” – with the help of the coastguard.
Mr. Gartenmeier told US news channel NBC6 that after he resurfaced, he swam a little more than a mile to the channel marker, while grabbing bamboo he found in the water.
His mother Tabitha said that during the family’s search, her son Joel’s friend noticed an unusual sight on the water – buoys that appeared to be connected.
Mr. Gartenmeier cut and tied the mooring balls to make a makeshift raft. He said he “ended up cutting three of them off the reef, tying up a little hammock.”
Shortly after seeing the buoys, he was spotted.
“I could hear the boat humming behind me,” said the 22-year-old. The ship he heard coming towards him was loaded with members of his family.
Once aboard, he was transferred to a Coast Guard boat and washed ashore. His body temperature was initially low, but when it stabilized, he was released just an hour later.
‘The smartest, most experienced diver I know’
His cousin Priscilla Gartenmeyer described what happened on Facebook.
She wrote: “After gathering the family we jumped on the candidate and had the scariest boat ride of our lives to his last known coordinates.
“God was definitely on our side because as soon as we stopped running and started looking, we immediately spotted him at almost the exact coordinates we were given.”
He added: “That second video was the moment we all saw it, I can’t stop watching it.
“He is the smartest, most experienced diver I know on the water, he swam about two miles and before he lost energy he grabbed three buoys and made a hammock for himself to float!”