Off-duty Coast Guard member pauses own wedding shoot to save drowning teen

While at his own wedding on Aug. 2, an off-duty Coast Guard member saved a male from drowning near Orange Beach, Alabama.

Right after the ceremony, Petty Officer 2nd Class Zac Edwards and his new bride Cindy were having photos taken on the beach when a woman ran up to him and told him a person was in the water and struggling to stay afloat, MSN News reported.

“Hey, that kid out there’s having a hard time getting back in,” the woman said.

Edwards looked at his wife, who said, “Go get him!”

He quickly began taking off his clothes, but his wife said, “You don’t have time. Go!”

Edwards jumped into the water to save the victim, who was about 60 yards away.

Edwards said there were two teens in the nearby water who had a boogie board and he didn’t want them to risk their safety by trying to help so he said to them, “Give me your boogie board. Go back now.”

When Edwards got to the victim, he was about 120 yards away from shore, The Coast Guard Compass reported.

“I wasn’t going to let him drown. He kept saying, ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. My goal was to keep his head out of the water,” Edwards said.


Edwards used the boogie board to keep the victim’s head afloat.

He was maneuvering the victim to the shore, but the current hindered his success.

As his wife watched from shore, she was concerned for his safety. “That’s when I started to panic,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s not going to make it back in.’”

A rescue was made by a lifeguard who arrived and was able to safely get Edwards and the victim to shore.

“It took everything I had to hold on to him. It was rough getting in. I bounced my face off the sled and I was bleeding,” Edwards said.

Once onshore, EMS arrived on the scene to assist the victim.

Edwards displayed his gratitude to the first responders who saved the day. “I jumped in one day; they jump in every day,” he said.

“I didn’t think that the day that changed my family’s life for the better would change another family’s life for the better too,” he added.

Edwards’ rescue gained national media attention and he was asked to appear on Good Morning America.

Capt. Malcolm McLellan, the Commander of Coast Guard Sector Mobile said, “This is another example of the dedication our members have in service to the people of their nation. It shows the true character of a Coastguardsman with a bias for action.”

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