HAULOVER BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The captain of a swift response towing boat came to the rescue of a South Florida man after he was swept out to sea off Haulover Beach, Thursday afternoon.
A witness recorded the dramatic rescue. A swift response boat captain is seen pulling the swimmer from the water about two miles away from shore. “I put my hands around him and just muscled him up and got him on board,” said Capt. David Correa with Fast Response Marine Towing.
Correa said the swimmer was out on a rental and was swimming on the south side of the Haulover Sandbar when the current picked up and he got separated from his group. “”The current here can change, incoming or outgoing in minutes, and they got swept off right off the sandbar,” said Correa.
The water rushed out to sea, carrying the swimmer about two miles away in 30 minutes.
Good Samaritans spotted the man in distress and threw him a rope, but there wasn’t much they could do. “We were kind of just cruising by here, and we heard whistling in the distance,” said boater Evan Margolis.
Margolis said he was fishing with his brother nearby when he saw the swimmer struggling to stay afloat. “He almost drowned. He was basically getting dunked,” he said.
The quick-thinking witness called in the rescue crew and started recording on his iPhone. “We didn’t want to get in the midst of it because there was already a boat trying to reel the guy in,” said Margolis, “and he was so exhausted that, if we got our boat in there, it would have been a huge catastrophe.”
Correa was able to reach the swimmer and pull him to safety within minutes.
But the saga didn’t stop here. The swimmer, bloody and bruised, thought his two friends were still in the water. “He didn’t know anything. He was just in shock,” said Correa.
As it turns out, the man’s friends had made it to the dock safely.
He was treated by medics and is expected to make a full recovery. “This guy got very, very lucky,” said Correa.
Correa advised other boaters to be careful with the currents. He said the swimmer may not have survived if he’d been out in the water a few minutes longer.
Thankfully, his rescuer was in the right place at the right time. “I say I’m not really a hero,” said Correa. “I’m just a dude out here doing what I do every day.”
Officials said the water flow changes about every six hours. They advised swimmers to swim parallel to the shore if they are caught in a strong current.
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