Two Jacksonville, Florida teenagers are lucky to be alive after they became caught up in a riptide that took them nearly two miles out into the ocean.
Tyler Smith 17, and Heather Brown, also 17, are from Christ's Church Academy and were out at the beach on April 18 enjoying a senior skip day. The pair were swimming off of Vilano Beach, near St. Augustine when they realized a riptide had taken them about 2 miles from shore.
The two students fought against the waves, trying to get back to the shore for about two hours until they became weak and tired. Tyler told Fox 35 that's when they began praying to God.
That's when the captain and the crew of a boat named 'Amen' found them.
Captain Eric Wagner posted about the incident on Facebook:
"Nearly 2 miles out: over all the wind, waves, and engines we thought we heard a desperate scream. 200 yards behind us we saw an arm flail over the swells. Troy started the u-turn while Rich and I ran down to the bow with life jackets and ropes. Wayne stayed on the bridge as spotter. After what felt like forever we finally made our way while loosing them in the swells ever few seconds. We tossed them jackets then a line and pulled them back to the swim deck."
The two teenagers so exhausted by their ordeal, they couldn't even climb up the swim deck ladder Wagner put out for them.
"The engines were off so we were at the mercy of the waves; all of us falling left and right dodging the sliding items we failed to secure well," Wagner wrote on Facebook. "Both were shivering and pale, his lips were white. She was lucid, he seemed to be struggling to answer our questions but coherent."
Wagner said his crew contacted the Coast Guard to inform them about the lost teenagers and set course for the rescue boat that would bring them back to shore. He wrote that when he told the teenagers the name of his boat, they began to cry.
"Exhausted and near the end the boy told me he called out for God's help. Then we showed up. I told them the name of the vessel, that's when they started to cry. 30 minutes later we rendezvoused the rescue ship for a transfer. Their color was back and seemed to be well, however he was still shivering. The young couple was gracious and grateful to us and to God. It was the latter all along."