A teen who took a walk down the beach Tuesday night near Brunswick, Georgia, spent more than eight hours fighting for his life alone in the ocean, officials said.
“Worst vacation ever,” 19-year-old Blake Spataro told Action News Jax. “But also my most exciting ever.”
Officials said Spataro was reported missing Tuesday night after he was suspected of being pulled to sea by a rip current off St. Simons Island, News 4 Jax reported. The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies mounted a search effort for hours as his mother Janice Spataro posted a call for prayers 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. He has been missing for about 3 hrs now,” she wrote. “The Coast Guard, Sheriff, Police and community are all looking for him. Please pray that he is found safe and sound. His father and I along with our family members are worried sick with fear. I usually don’t ask for prayers for myself or family but we need many prayers right now.”
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Spataro told Action News Jax he was sitting in the water when he was washed out to sea by a current.
The teen spent more than eight hours in the water, Jay Wiggins of the Glynn County Emergency Management Agency wrote on Facebook. Spataro told reporter Amber Krycka he “was all alone with no one to talk to except myself and God.”
“I wanted to live, I wanted to live, I was too young to die and I didn’t want it to end there,” Spataro told Action News Jax. “Whenever I was tired I floated on my back.”
Wiggins wrote that officials were prepared to declare search a “recovery” when they received word that the teen had been found on dry land. He had floated about three miles and gotten close enough to swim to the Ocean Forest golf course on Sea Island, where employees called for help.
“He is so blessed, after spending over eight hours in the water, he is alive and well and was taken to the hospital as a precaution,” Wiggins wrote.
Spataro’s mother wrote on Facebook that her son told her he saw the search team looking for him, and that he shouted and waved at them, but they didn’t see him.
“I Thank God for guiding my son back to safety and I Thank all of my friends and family that prayed for his safe return. I feel like I can breathe again,” she wrote.
“I’m alive,” Spataro told Action News Jax. “I am truly blessed to be alive today.”