Grieving family members grateful to be alive after Fort Lauderdale water rescue

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida. – A family is grieving but also grateful to be alive after a dramatic water rescue in Fort Lauderdale.

Relatives said the rescue came at a cost.

Jacinto Lopez remembered his nephew, Domingo, as a hard worker and good boy who came to the United States from Guatemala just three years ago in search of a better life.

Lopez and her brother, Augusteen, along with Domingo, were pulled from the water just off the beach in Fort Lauderdale after being caught in a rip current. Domingo died in hospital a few days later.

“It was very windy but we just wanted to stay close to shore,” Lopez recalled.

After working several days in a row, Lopez said the trio and his girlfriend finally had some time off, so they decided to take advantage of the day, starting at Zoo Miami in the morning.

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The brothers and nephew ended the day in Fort Lauderdale Beach, a short drive from their Hollywood home.

The rescuers had just left but the three men decided to go swimming anyway.

A rip current took Jacinto out to sea.

He said his brother and nephew tried to save him but also got caught up in it.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to die here. This is the end of my days,'” Lopez said.

He described how his brother tried to lift him into the water to breathe. He said he was out of breath and quickly losing his energy. Augusteen and Domingo were struggling to stay afloat.

Fort Lauderdale police, the BSO and lifeguards quickly mobilized and swarmed the area after receiving a call from shore from swimmers in distress.

Domingo, at that time, was found unconscious in the water. Crews were able to collect his pulse, but he died several days later at Broward Health Medical Center, where Crews rushed him for treatment.

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Lopez said he’s always grateful to those first responders, knowing the three men would almost certainly have drowned without them.

He said he was planning a funeral and was in contact with his family in Guatemala.

He remembered his nephew as a hero who had tried to save his life in the first place.

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