The waves were rough on that May day in 2019 when Eric Wagner and his friends decided to bring their 53-foot yacht from Delray Beach, Florida to their New Jersey home. The engines roared at 13 knots in order to maintain control over choppy waters. Winds blowing at 15-20 knots made navigating an adventure.
Over two miles out to sea, Eric, the captain of the boat, thought he heard a desperate scream for help. Impossible. Over the wind, the waves, and the roar of the engines? They searched the choppy waters and close to 200 yards behind them, a small arm seemed to be flailing over the swells. They turned the boat around but kept losing sight of it. Was it their imagination? They decided to check anyway.
On student skip day at Christ’s Church Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, two 17-year-olds decided to go for a swim in the ocean near St. Augustine. Both student-athletes, they never thought about a riptide that could pull them out to sea. But when they could no longer see land, they began to get worried.
“We tread water, and then floated, then swam. But our legs were becoming tired and cramped,” said Tyler. No matter which way they swam, it seemed they kept going farther out to sea. They had been in the water over two hours.
Tyler began to pray for God to help them. He would be their only chance for survival. “If You really have a plan for us, then bring someone to save us,” Tyler told WJAX.
After they’d said amen to their prayer, a ‘big, really nice boat appeared, almost out of nowhere.’ They had seen a couple of other boats in the distance, but the swells were too large for the boats to see them. This one was closer than the other two, and their hopes for rescue became a reality. Heather found a stick floating close to her and began to wave it at the boat. That’s when they saw the name on the big boat coming to save them — AMEN.
Even during the rescue, Wagner recalls the waves were rough enough to rock the boat, making it difficult to rescue the teenagers. The men had to dodge unsecured sliding items and keep their balance but were finally able to pull the two teens onboard. Tyler and Heather were cold, exhausted, and pale – but alive.
“I truly believe it was divine intervention. It had nothing to do with me,” Wagner said. “I was just put there at the right place at the right time and I did the same thing anyone else would have done – pulled them aboard. There were too many coincidences, in my opinion, for this to be a coincidence.” Eric Wagner/Facebook
Wagner said the rescue strengthened his faith. He plans to restore his boat and thought about changing its name – but not anymore. “It will stay the “AMEN” forever,” he said.