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21-year-old man lost at sea in Key West survives. Here’s how his family reacted when he was found

Dylan Gartenmayer of Key West is the subject of a viral video capturing his miraculous story of survival

SHARE 21-year-old man lost at sea in Key West survives. Here’s how his family reacted when he was found
Key West residents walk along the beach on the Atlantic Ocean as the sun shines through the clouds in Key West.

Key West residents who did not wish to be identified walk along the beach on the Atlantic Ocean as the sun shines through the clouds in Key West, Fla. Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005. Dylan Gartenmayer of Key West is the subject of a viral video capturing his miraculous story of survival.

Lynne Sladky, Associated Press

A video of 21-year-old Dylan Gartenmayer’s rescue after being swept out to sea went viral with over 29 million views this weekend.

Gartenmayer was free diving Thursday just off the coast of Key West when a current pulled him away from the rest of his party. When he resurfaced, he said he was a mile from the boat and eventually lost sight of it altogether.

For two hours, Gartenmayer watched the sun go down as he struggled to stay afloat with some bamboo he found floating nearby and then some scuba buoys he cut and strung together, per NBC affiliate WSAZ.

Gartenmayer told NBC affiliate WTVJ he was scared that sharks would be attracted to bait nearby.

His family searched for him on his grandpa’s boat for two hours along with the air support from the Coast Guard and eventually found him. Their reactions and reunion were recorded by his cousin Priscilla Gartenmayer and posted on TikTok.

He joked on the TikTok video series posted by his cousin that he thought about steering a sea turtle he saw earlier to safety, much like Captain Jack Sparrow’s story of using sea turtles to ride to safety from a deserted island in “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

All jokes aside, his experience of 11 years of diving and his resourcefulness saved his life.

“That was really emotional for me,” Priscilla Gartenmayer told WTVJ. “We know how lucky we are to have so still have Dylan here.”

When he was found, the Coast Guard did a medical evaluation when results showed the only problem was his low core temperature, per CNN. After getting warmed up and stable in about an hour, Gartenmayer slept safe and sound in his own bed.