JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It was Holy Thursday and rough waters off Anastasia Island kept Eric Wagner and his friends aboard “The Amen”, two miles offshore as they headed north from Del Ray Beach.
Wanger described the moment they knew someone was in trouble. "It was screams we heard first, and it was the wave that confirmed there were people out there,"
He added “It wasn’t until we came close that we saw it was desperate (situation.)”
The screams came from 17-year-olds Heather Brown and Tyler Smith.
The local teens were celebrating senior skip day with a trip to the beach when they were caught up in rip currents and pulled out into the Atlantic.
“I think it was at the end. They were treading water in the way you do when it’s up like this and you can barely keep it up," Wagner said.
Smith’s lips were white, his breathing was labored, his legs cramping.
“I cried out, if you really do have a plan for us, come on just bring something," Smith said. "Then a godsend.”
Wagner described that moment. "He said to me, 'I called out to god and that's when you guys showed up,'” he said. “Her first words were 'God is real,' and I kind of smiled and things were frantic so I didn't have time to respond, but I did say the name of the boat was 'Amen' but I don't know if it sunk in."
Wagner and his friends used blankets to warm the shivering teems, as they rushed them back to shore.
The reality and remarkable timing of it all, began to set in. Brown told Action News Jax, “He said the name of the boat is 'The Amen.' I started crying.”
“I believe it was miraculous,” said Wagner, “We had no business being in (the) ocean that day. The timing of it, it’s too many coincidences for me to accept that this was a coincidental incident."
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