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Teen Survives Nearly 10-Hour Ordeal Off Georgia Coast

Blake Spataro got swept away by riptide
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2018 3:58 PM CDT
A sign on a beach warns of dangerous rip currents in the area.   (Getty Images/Sherwood Imagery)

(Newser) – A teen on vacation in Georgia was swept away by a riptide and managed to survive for a remarkable 10 hours in the ocean. Blake Spataro credits his faith and his dogged will to stay alive before he was finally able to make it to shore. "I wanted to live. I was too young to die," the 19-year-old tells Action News Jax. US Coast Guard personnel had spent hours searching for Spataro, who was on vacation on Georgia's St. Simons Island with his family. His father walked the beach all night Tuesday.

They finally found the relief they were after when employees at the golf course where Spataro came ashore Wednesday morning called authorities, after giving him food and water. While Spataro's harrowing ordeal has a happy ending, not everyone caught in a rip tide survives. Since the start of 2018, the National Weather Service estimates at least 15 US fatalities have been blamed on the phenomenon. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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