Tag Archives: Florida

A happy ending: Florida diver rescued by family

Dylan had an Angel watching over him!

From Daily Mail:

“A  21-year-old free diver was miraculously rescued by his family after he was swept away by the Gulf Stream while diving more than five miles from the Florida Keys.

Diver and spear fisherman Dylan Gartenmayer described the moment he heard the hum of his grandfather’s boat as he hopelessly lay watching the sun set over shark-infested waters.

Hours earlier on Thursday afternoon, he had been with two friends as he descended for his final dive of the day around the West Sambo Reef.

Beneath the surface he was caught in a current that drew him 150 feet below the surface and spat him out around a mile away.

His friends notified both the US Coast Guard and his family, who began a desperate search, racing against the setting sun.

After emerging he swam around a mile back towards the reef, where he cut free mooring buoys which he tied together to form a makeshift raft. ‘I was watching the sun drop pretty quickly,’ said Gartenmayer in a video posted to social media.

Fishing bait started washing up around him, attracting the attention of sharks.  I’d just seen a reef shark swam past me,’ he said. ‘I had a bunch of bait start blowing up around, I could see mackerel skyrocketing.’

As the temperature began to drop and a chill set in, the diver described how he used the buoys to keep his body as far out of the water as possible. ‘I was starting to shiver at that point and my hands were starting to feel a little numb, so were my toes, so I knew this was starting to get serious,’ he said.

A rescue mission involving coast guard boats and aircraft was underway, but they were unable to spot him.  ‘I had a small plane fly above but they didn’t see me,’ he said. ‘About 30 minutes later they flew back again, still didn’t see me.’

‘Shortly after that the sun had disappeared past the horizon. Looking to the east it was pitch black, looking to the west you could see the remnants of the sunset. As I saw the sun disappear I knew things were starting to get a little more dire,’ he said.

But then the amateur search party led by his family struck gold. ‘By some miracle my parents and everybody else on board my grandfather’s boat ended up driving and basically landing right on top of me,’ he said.

‘I could hear the engines running and I knew from there that was actually my grandfather’s boat.’

Read the whole story here.

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Chick-fil-A employee stops attempted carjacking; saves mom & her baby

We need more men like this!

From Yahoo News:

“A Florida Chick-fil-A employee is being praised for his heroic actions when he stopped a man from allegedly carjacking a woman and a baby.

The employee, Mykel Gordon, was working at a location in the Fort Walton Beach area Wednesday afternoon when the woman started screaming for help, according to statements from Chick-fil-A and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

The woman told deputies that she was getting her nephew out of his car seat when the suspect, William Branch, approached her, an incident report stated.

The woman said Branch was carrying a stick in his hand and was “wielding it in a way she believed he would use it as a weapon,” according to the report.

The woman said she stepped back away from Branch and he lunged at her, grabbed her keys from her waistband and got inside her car, according to the report.

“When the victim began screaming for help an employee at Chick-fil-A ran to intervene,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.”

Read the whole story here (and see a picture of Mykel).

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Passenger lands plane after pilot has medical emergency

Meet Darren Harrison, who was the passenger on a recent Cessna flight heading back to Florida from the Bahamas.

The pilot experienced a medical emergency (he’s ok now) and Darren had to radio air traffic control to help him land the plane. The pilot had gone unconscious due to an aneurysm.

Darren said he “knew if I didn’t react that we would die.”

He also said he knew he did not want to call his wife and tell her “bye.” She is seven months pregnant and expecting their first child together, a daughter due in the summer.

Air traffic controller Robert Morgan guided Darren through the steps of flying and landing the plane even as Darren continued to struggle with the navigation system. Darren was eventually able to pull into the runway at the Palm Beach International Airport.

As Darren said in The Today Show interview, “the hand of God was on that plane.”

Read the whole story here and/or watch the video here:

Here’s Darren’s 10 minute interview with The Today Show:

Bet Darren’s wife is so proud of him, and thankful he remained so calm!

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Schools that switched to remote learning harmed children’s educational achievement in math

Here in Oklahoma schools shut down for just six weeks beginning in March 2020 when the pandemic first hit and we didn’t know what to expect. They returned to normal in-school classes in the fall of 2020. Turns out that was really best for the kids.

From Daily Mail:

Students in school districts that relied more heavily on remote learning during the pandemic fell behind in math at a far greater rate than students in states, like Texas and Florida, that stuck to in-person classes, according to a Harvard study.

Nationally, all students have seen a decrease in academic achievement because of the disruption from the pandemic, an issue that has been exacerbated by poverty and race.

But  Prof. Thomas Kane, an economist and director of Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research, found that kids that were allowed to come to school faired far better than those who were forced to learn over video feed.

‘We estimate that in high poverty schools students lost about half a year of learning if their schools were remote for half a year or more last year,’ Kane told CNN’s Jake Tapper. ‘That’s a large effect.’

The study looked at test scores for 2.1 million American students in 49 states. Math scores suffered more than reading, according to the report.

‘Interestingly, gaps in math achievement by race and school poverty did not widen in school districts in states such as Texas and Florida and elsewhere that remained largely in-person,’ Kane told the Harvard Gazette. ‘Where schools remained in-person, gaps did not widen. Where schools shifted to remote learning, gaps widened sharply.’

Read the whole story here.

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Police honor 9-year-old girl who helped fight off mom’s attacker

Quite the brave little girl!

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Florida deputy saves 3-year-old boy hiding under blanket from house fire

Deputy First Class Marcus Dawson to the rescue!

Excerpts from the Fox News story:

“A Florida deputy ran into a burning home on Sunday and rescued a 3-year-old boy who was hiding from the fire and smoke underneath a blanket, authorities said.

K-9 Deputy First Class Marcus Dawson responded to the home in the west section of Palm Coast after a neighbor reported that a fire appeared to have broken out in the kitchen, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said. The neighbor told Dawson that he hadn’t seen the three people who lived there that day.

Dawson checked the home from the outside and saw that a fire on the stove was spreading to the kitchen cabinets, the sheriff’s office said. Dawson yelled commands into the home but didn’t get a response. He saw dogs barking at the rear screen door as black smoke filled the home. 

Dawson saw a bathroom light on at the front of the home and called out again, but received no response. The deputy then returned to the back of the house and entered through the unlocked screened patio and saw movement inside.
“Without DFC Dawson immediately running toward danger, even without a safety respirator, this could have been a much different outcome,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “This child was hiding in fear of the fire and smoke watching a cartoon on his phone when, thankfully, DFC Dawson’s training in emergency response allowed him to find this child and safely rescue him.” 

Read the whole story here.

Apparently the father left the young boy alone with an older sibliing while he went to get dinner. Ugh.

Since you can’t see Deputy Dawson in the video, here’s a picture of him and his regular K-9 partner, Baro.

Photo courtesy of Flagler County Sheriff’s Office

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