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‘Worst vacation ever’: Teen stranded in ocean for 10 hours overnight

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — A tourist says his nighttime stroll on a Georgia beach turned his holiday into the “worst vacation ever” after a rip tide swept him out to sea.

Nineteen-year-old Blake Spataro of Louisiana said he spent nearly 10 hours in the Atlantic Ocean.

“I was out there sitting by the shore when a rip tide washes me straight into the ocean,” he told the local television station.

“I didn’t want to die out there. I was talking to God the entire night,” Spataro said.

Throughout the night, the 19-year-old said he did his best to stay calm.

“Whenever I was tired I floated on my back,” he told reporters.

Spataro said he was about to give up, but then came a ray of hope, literally. Lights from an approaching Coast Guard boat boosted his spirits.

“That gave me some comfort and gave me some motivation to keep going,” he said.

Glynn County Emergency Management Director Jay Wiggins writes on Facebook that officials were about to switch the search from rescue to recovery Wednesday when they learned the teenager was alive. He had floated 3 miles and then realized he could walk ashore on a Sea Island golf course.