An Iowa seminary student on his Florida honeymoon drowned when he was swept out to sea on his first time in the ocean, authorities said.
A St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office incident report said 22-year-old Dalton Cottrell, of Malcom, Iowa, drowned while swimming Tuesday, July 30, at Crescent Beach, south of Jacksonville, Florida.
A nearby beachgoer heard screaming in the ocean and grabbed a paddle board, joining a lifeguard who went to the rescue. The report said they found Cottrell and brought him back to shore but he died.
— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) July 31, 2019
Cottrell’s wife, 22-year-old Cheyenne Hedrick, told St. Johns County sheriff’s deputies it was his first time in the ocean. She said the current pulled them out and “he started to freak out.” Cheyenne told deputies she tried to help, but he was struggling and pulled her underwater.
“Cheyenne advised he began to struggle and she attempted to assist him but was unable to help due to him pulling her under,” police said in a statement. “She advised at one point after him being under the water for approximately for a minute he came back up, and his eyes were rolled in the back of his head.”
According to Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa, the couple were seniors at the school and had married in Kansas City, Missouri, on Saturday. The school said Cottrell was training to be a pastor.
Cottrell and Hedrick had been married for three days.