22-year-old drowns when he is swept out to sea

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Friday, August 2, 2019
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His widow recalls the last moments they shared, saying he pulled her underwater while struggling.

CRESCENT BEACH, Florida -- A 22-year-old Iowa man drowned off the coast of Florida in what authorities said was his first time in the ocean.

Dalton Cottrell, 22, of Malcom, Iowa, was swimming at Crescent Beach, near Jacksonville, when he was swept out to sea, according to The Associated Press, citing a St. Johns County Sheriff's Office incident report obtained by The Florida Times-Union.

Cottrell, a seminary student, was on his honeymoon.

Cheyenne Cottrell, Dalton's wife, told authorities that when a current pulled them farther out, "he started to freak out," the AP reported. He struggled and pulled her underwater, she said.

According to the incident report, a beach-goer heard Cottrell screaming and joined a lifeguard in bringing him back to shore, but he died shortly thereafter.