ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) - A bridegroom has been credited with saving a struggling swimmer just moments after his beach wedding on the Gulf Coast last week.
Zac and Cindy Edwards had just gotten married at Orange Beach, Alabama, and were taking wedding photos when a woman came up and said someone was struggling in the surf, WALA-TV reported.
Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Zac Edwards is a former lifeguard, so he stripped off his shirt and was about to take off his pants when his newly-wedded wife said, "You don't have time," as the swimmer continued to drift away from shore.
Edwards quickly went in after the swimmer. He got to the person, but then had a hard time making it back to shore.
"He kept saying, 'I can't breathe. I can't breathe,'" Edwards said in a statement released by the Coast Guard. "My goal was to keep his head out of the water."
First responders showed up soon after and brought them both to safety. Both Edwards and the Mississippi high school student who was trapped in the currents are fine. Red flags were up on the beach that day, and the on-duty first responders were away saving another person.
"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," Edwards said.
Edwards said all he could think about was his bride while in the water.
"It beat us up pretty hard getting in and we pulled up on the beach everybody grabs him. I got up and she's running out in her wedding dress. I'm bleeding from the nose and trying to tell her get away because I know how important that dress was and I didn't want to ruin that," he said.
Pastor Glenn Henson said he witnessed the rescue right after he married the couple last Thursday.
"They were taking photos right after the wedding when it happened," Henson said Tuesday.
Cindy Edwards said she got a package deal.
"Hero and hubby in the same day," she said.