CRESCENT BEACH, Fla. (WJXT/CNN) - For newlyweds enjoying their honeymoon in Florida, a day at the beach quickly turned tragic when a 22-year-old man got caught in a riptide.
Dalton Cottrell, 22, and his 22-year-old wife Cheyenne Cottrell were swimming in the ocean Tuesday near Crescent Beach, Fla. Cheyenne Cottrell says it was her husband’s first time in the ocean.
The couple began struggling in the water when they were pulled out by a strong tide. Cheyenne Cottrell says her husband began to “freak out,” and she tried to help him. However, he started going under the water and, at one point, was under for a minute.
Other beachgoers witnessed the incident, including a surfer and lifeguard who tried to help by pulling the couple into shore and performing CPR.
Dalton Cottrell was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“Never did I think at 22 would I be a wife and then a widow so quickly,” wrote Cheyenne Cottrell in a Facebook post Wednesday.
Cheyenne Cottrell says her husband was an all-around amazing person who was an encourager to all and quick to help anyone who needed it. He was studying to become a pastor.
A GoFundMe set up to help Dalton Cottrell’s family with funeral expenses has raised more than $17,000.
St. Johns County Marine Rescue offered advice for swimmers to stay safe in strong currents: If you get caught in a rip current, try to remain calm and swim parallel to the shoreline until you’re out of it. If possible, swim by a lifeguard.