Thursday, July 19, 2012

South Beach Lifeguards Andy Lindberg, Kevin Stockhausen and Mike Petker Saved My Life

By Davy V.

On Wednesday July 18th, 2012, I almost died.

While in Miami, Florida on vacation with my sons and my niece, we went to South Beach for some fun in the water.

While my son David stayed on the sand, my son Danny, my niece Anne Marie and I got on an inner tube and were floating on the clear, calm waters of the Atlantic ocean.

At one point, my son and my niece got off the tube, and I remained on.

After a few minutes, I decided to get off.

As soon as I did, I immediately knew I was in trouble.

You see, I don't know how to swim. it's embarrassing to admit this, but it's the truth. I never learned how to.

I sank straight down as soon as I hit the water, it had to be at least a 20 foot drop.

I then recall hitting the bottom of the ocean floor, and bouncing back up.

When I surfaced it was only for 2-3 seconds at most. my head was barely above water as I gasped for air trying to see who was around, as I yelled "Help!"

I could see my son and my niece and the inner tube floating about 10 feet away.

I tried to reach for it but couldn't reach it.

I sank back down again.

I remember swallowing large amounts of water, each time I gasped for air, before sinking once again.

This went on for several minutes. With each time I re-surfaced and sank again, I swallowed more and more water.

Each time I came back up, I recall thinking why isn't anyone coming to save me.

Could they see me?

Could they hear my cries for help?

At one point I saw that the inner tube was close enough for me to reach, I tried grabbing it, but it slipped away.

The next time I re-surfaced, I was able to grab the tube again, but this time it flipped upside down, and once again I couldn't get a grip on it, and down I went again.

It was at this point where I remember feeling extremely exhausted and a strange, eerie, yet almost peaceful feeling set in.

One of feeling at peace with the fact that I was going to die.

That this is how it was going to end for me.

It was also at this point when my children's faces started to flash in my mind.

I remember seeing my 3 year old daughter Isabella's beautiful face and thinking I would not get to see her graduate school or get married and start a family of her own.

I remember seeing my son's and my niece's faces and thinking how much I love them, and how I was going to die on their vacation.

I was sinking at this time, only different than the other times.

I was falling backwards and there was no more fight left in me.

I could see the sun shining through the water above me as I sank deeper and deeper.

I remember everything was quiet.

I remember closing my eyes.

Then nothing but quiet for a bit.

Then I felt a hit from behind.

And I could feel hands grabbing me and pulling me back up to the surface.

I was on my back and all I could see was blue sky and several men's faces telling me "We got you."

Three years ago I was hit by car.

Yesterday I almost drowned.

I guess God has a plan for me.

Thank you Jehovah.

I'd like to thank the heroes who saved my life.

Thank you to South Beach lifeguards Kevin Stockhausen (LG 101), Andy Lindberg (LG 201) and Mike Petker (LG 101).

Thank you also to Ms. Toni Bucacci (Lt.)

I will never forget all of you.

Thank you.

And God Bless you all.