Two miles from shore, exhausted from hours of fighting the waves and starting to cramp up, two teenage swimmers turned to prayer after becoming stranded off the Florida coast.
Moments later they were rescued by a passing boat. But for Tyler Smith and Heather Brown, both students of Christ’s Church Academy in Jacksonville, it wasn’t just the rescue that strengthened their faith in the divine, but the name of the vessel—’The Amen.”
The two friends, both 17, had decided to head for Vilano Beach together, for a senior skip day on April 18, reported Fox news.
But when they went for an offshore swim, they got into trouble, swept out to sea by the current.
After two hours in the water, their body temperatures started to drop and they began to pray.
“I cried out: ‘If you really do have a plan for us, like, come on. Just bring something,’” Smith told FOX 30.
According to the news station, moments later, as he was starting to cramp up, they spotted a passing boat.
“I started swimming toward it,” Brown told Fox. “I was like, ‘I’m going to get this boat. Just stay here. I’m going to get this boat. We are going to live.'”
The boat, heading to New Jersey, was captained by Eric Wagner.
Stranded in the middle of the ocean, two #Florida teens began to pray. A God send, in the form of a boat, the Amen. Their incredible story of survival on @ActionNewsJax tune in at 6:00 pic.twitter.com/RsdS61VMcZ
— Bridgette Matter (@bridgetteANjax) 30 April 2019
“Over all the wind, waves, and engines, we thought we heard a desperate scream,” Wagner said, according to a statement on the school Facebook page. “Exhausted and near the end the boy told me he called out for God’s help. Then we showed up. I told them the name of the vessel, that’s when they started to cry.”
According to the Daily Mail, the teens might not have been rescued at all if the crew of The Amen hadn’t decided to head out into the rougher waters “for fun.”
The captain radioed the Coast Guard and the two teens were transferred to another boat.
“The first words that came out of my mouth were, ‘God is real,'” Smith told WBDO. “There’s no other reason, no other explanation in the world other than God.”
According to the Daily Mail, both plan to attend military school after graduating from the private school. Brown aims to become a naval ROTC marine officer, and Smith wants to get his pilot’s license and join the Air Force.
The school released a statement following the students’ rescue, according to the Daily Mail:
‘The staff, students, and families of Christ’s Church Academy are incredibly grateful for God‘s protection over Heather and Tyler,’ Jeanie Collins, director of marketing and development at Christ’s Church Academy said. ‘Thank you to Mr. Eric Wagner, captain of the “Amen” vessel that rescued our students, for your action and compassion!’