On his wedding day, off-duty Coast Guard member rescues person in the water

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News Release  

U.S. Coast Guard 8th District Heartland
Contact: 8th District Public Affairs
Office: (504) 671-2020
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On his wedding day, off-duty Coast Guard member rescues person in the water

NEW ORLEANS – An off-duty Coast Guard member rescued a man from the water near Orange Beach, Alabama, August 2, 2018.

Shortly after his wedding, Petty Officer 2nd Class Zac Edwards, a Coast Guard member stationed at Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Alabama, was posing for photographs with his wife on Orange Beach.

A woman approached Edwards and explained there was a man in the water who was struggling returning to shore.

“I wasn’t going to let him drown,” Edwards said.

Edwards raced to the water and approached the man with a floatation device.

“He kept saying, ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,’ “ he said. “My goal was to keep his head out of the water.”

Edwards pulled the man towards the shore until he was unable to proceed due to the current.

A lifeguard aboard a personal watercraft arrived on scene and assisted pulling Edwards and the man to shore.

The man was then assisted by emergency medical services.

Edwards says he is thankful for the work of the first responders who arrived on scene after he ran into the water.

“I jumped in one day; they jump in every day,” he said.

“I didn’t think that the day that changed my family’s life for the better would change another family’s life for the better too,” he said.

“This is another example of the dedication our members have in service to the people of their nation,” said Capt. Malcolm McLellan, the Commander of Coast Guard Sector Mobile. “It shows the true character of a Coastguardsman with a bias for action.”