An 18-year-old swimmer who was found wet and unconscious near a dune after a three-hour water and land search Tuesday night didn’t know how he got there or even what day it was, Isle of Palms Fire Chief Ann Graham said Wednesday.
Graham said the reason for the teen’s “altered state” wasn’t immediately clear and he was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated.
Friends of the swimmer first approached Isle of Palms firefighters about his disappearance about 7 p.m., Graham said. Firefighters searched the surf with jet skis and combed the beach. When they received a report that he was seen coming out of the water they focused more on the beach, Graham said, but later learned it wasn’t the same person.
Graham said they then contacted the U.S. Coast Guard which, along with units from North Charleston police and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, help searched the water with boats and a helicopter.
The search continued until shortly after 10 p.m. when two firefighters combing the dunes found him in a pitted area near the dune. He was wet and unconscious, Graham said.
“He may have gone up-path and fallen,” she said.
Firefighters roused him but he couldn’t say how he got there or what day it was.
Graham said he’s lucky he didn’t lose consciousness in the water.