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Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 5:45 pm | Updated: 6:39 pm, Thu Oct 10, 2013.

**UPDATE** ABC 7 was contacted by a young man Wednesday evening that says he was the person that helped rescue Kiviniemi.  We are working on talking to him later today and will have the reunion.


SARASOTA, Fla. - A man visiting the Suncoast is looking for his missing hero that helped rescue him from drowning earlier this week.

Jonathan Kiviniemi and his wife Alexa are spending the week on Turtle Beach for a belated honeymoon.  The couple from New Albany, Indiana got into town on Sunday.

Monday night after dinner and despite dangerous water conditions, Jonathan decided to go swimming.  “I got out probably 30 or 40 yards,” Kiviniemi told ABC 7, but that is when he got into trouble. Alexa was on the beach taking sunset pictures when she saw Jonathan struggling.

“He started yelling for help and I heard him.”

Jonathan was caught in a strong rip current and panicked.

“I got ducked under came back up and the waves were pulling me out further and further. I tried fighting back in and couldn’t fight back in.”

“It was terrifying. I was thinking, good lord, I am going to loose my husband,” recalled Alexa. She started running up the beach screaming for help.

“It was rough, I don’t think I could have made it back on my own,” said Jonathan. Thankfully help was near. A teenage surfer saw Jonathan struggling and came to his rescue.

“All the sudden I see this kid to my left, he throws me his board and says grab on and starts kicking and swimming and pulling me on his board.”

Jonathan tells ABC 7 once the young hero got him to shore he disappeared as quickly as he appeared for the rescue.

“Before I could even thank him, he took off up those steps up there and was gone.”

Turtle Beach does not have life guards on duty. According to Captain Roy Routh with the Sarasota County Beach Patrol, the safest place to swim anytime is one of six Sarasota County beaches with life guards on duty. It is especially wise to swim at a beach with life guards when the dangerous conditions exists like rip currents.

"I think it is a lot safer for patrons and their family if they do come to a guarded beach when they go out into the gulf."

Captain Routh says if you are caught in a rip current you need to swim parallel to shore until you swim out of the rip current which flows away from the beach.

The Kiviniemi’s are in town until Saturday morning and they really hope they are able to locate the young surfer and his family so Jonathan can give them a proper thank you for saving his life.

If you would like to contact the Kiviniemi's, call ABC 7 at 923-NEWS, and we can put you in contact with them.

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1 comment:

  • wildeyedsouthernboy posted at 8:54 am on Thu, Oct 10, 2013.

    wildeyedsouthernboy Posts: 18

    dang it I hate to be cynical ... but something isn't right here...just a thought.