A team of United States Air Force rescue personnel and an off-duty lifeguard are heroes after saving the lives of five drowning people in the ocean near Patrick AFB in Florida on Easter Sunday.
The seasoned lifeguard, Wyatt Werneth, 51, said he was only on the scene to assist in the emergency situation because his wife had convinced him to stop their vehicle off and help a fellow traveler with a dead car battery.
When he did, he noticed the swimmers struggling to stay afloat in the uncompromising rip current.
“So I was at the light and there was a lady on the dunes waving. Instantly, I recognized a water rescue condition.”
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The five victims had been on a tour bus that had stopped on the beach across from Patrick Air Force Base. By the time Werneth got there, one was almost beyond help.
“One of the guys was lethargic, kind of in and out, like, passing out. And we put him on this,” he said, indicating a flotation device called a LIFE Rescue Tube, which he carries with him at all times.
There are a few dozen stations along Brevard County beaches that have the same rescue device Werneth used.
With the help of rescue personnel from the Air Force base, all five victims were pulled from the water and taken to a hospital.
“That’s why I was put on this Earth. And I’m very blessed that I’m able to keep doing that.”
If you should ever find yourself caught in a rip current swimming, the National Weather Service advises to do three things: don’t fight the current (many have been measured to be stronger than an Olympic swimmer), “relax and float to conserve energy” and call and wave for help — calmly.