A 19-year-old says he spent the entire night “talking to God” after being swept out to sea by a rip current. Louisiana resident Blake Spataro said he was swimming in the ocean off the coast of St. Simon’s Island while on vacation with his family when the strong current dragged him into deeper waters.
One minute, Spataro was getting ready to come back up the beach for dinner, and the next, he was gone.
“When he popped up, he realized he was way out there,” Janice Spataro, Blake’s mother, said of the shocking incident, according to the Shreveport Times. “By that time it was starting to get dark.”
“It blew me by surprise,” Blake told ABC News.
The teen screamed as loud as he could, but to no avail — unfortunately, there was no lifeguard on duty at the time. As he lost sight of land, Spataro was convinced that he would die in the frigid waters. As night fell, he made one last attempt to paddle back to the shore, but the current was too powerful — he was stranded.
In order to conserve energy, the teen said that he fell into a routine of shutting his eyes and resting for 20 minutes at a time before continuing to tread water and float on his back. As the hours ticked by and no-one came to his rescue, Spataro took comfort in talking to God.
“I was talking to God the entire night,” he explained. “I was sincerely worried that I was not going to make it and I just needed some comfort before passing.”
TEEN PULLED OUT TO SEA BY RIP CURRENT… STUCK FOR HOURSOne teenager is lucky to be alive tonight… after being pulled out to sea off the coast of St. Simons Island. He was stuck out there for nearly TEN hours.19-year-old Blake Spataro was pulled out by a rip current. He screamed for help but no one heard him over the waves and wind, so he got pulled out farther and farther.For hours, multiple agencies, including the US Coast Guard, searched in the sky and by boat. When Spataro finally saw the light of the US Coast Guard boat, he also saw a golf course on the coast of Sea Island and he swam to shore.
Posted by WSAV Chief Meteorologist Kris Allred on Thursday, July 12, 2018
After spending 10 hours praying incessantly, he heard the whirring of chopper blades and the roaring of outboard engines — his hope was renewed. Blake’s mother had called in the coastguard and issued an urgent prayer request on Facebook.
“Please I am asking for prayers for my 19-year-old son Blake who took a walk down the beach in Brunswick, Georgia and never came back with the rest of the kids,” Mrs. Spataro wrote. “He has been missing for about 3 hrs now. The Coast Guard, Sheriff, Police and community are all looking for him.”
The teen’s mother said it was “the scariest night of my life. I felt helpless. I felt hopeless.”
“I cried and I begged,” she said. “I begged God to bring my son back.”
Incredibly, however, it was the current that saved him. As the weather shifted, Blake found himself being pulled back into shore. He eventually washed up by a local golf course, and an ambulance was called immediately.
“I’ve been in the Coast Guard for 18 years and I have never seen anything like this,” Justin Irwin, senior chief with the U.S. Coast Guard in Brunswick told WSOC-TV.
“Worst vacation ever,” Spataro said of his ordeal, “but also my most exciting ever.”
As for his mother, she believes that God’s hand of protection was over her son as he fought for his life.
“God shielded him from sharks,” she said. “He didn’t have any jellyfish bites or anything on him. I know God shielded him.”
(H/T: ABC News)