Coast Guard rescues Highlands teen after he clung to light tower overnight

A Highlands teen is safe after spending the night clinging to a light tower off the coast of Sandy Hook because his personal watercraft broke

Dylan Gowan, 19, says he spent the night clinging to a light tower in the ocean after his JetSki broke down.

Dylan Gowan, 19, says he spent the night clinging to a light tower in the ocean after his JetSki broke down. (8/12/15)

RED BANK - A Highlands teen is safe after spending nearly 12 hours clinging to a light tower off the coast of Sandy Hook because his personal watercraft broke down.

Dylan Gowan, 19, says that a friend had asked him to drive it from Brooklyn back to New Jersey. He says a large wave off the coast of Brooklyn knocked him off the watercraft. 

He then drove four miles before he realized something was wrong and the craft was taking on water.

At a news conference held at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Gowan says he swam to a nearby light tower in the water and stayed there overnight. 

He says he saw Coast Guard officers searching for him, but was unable to get their attention. Once daybreak came, Gowan started to swim to shore where he was eventually found by the Coast Guard.

"I started waving my arms and making as much splashing as possible," says Gowan. "They started to head right for me. I saw three Coast Guard officers and they helped me onto the boat. I basically broke down into tears because I was so happy I was coming home."

Gowan was taken to the hospital to be treated for dehydration and the onset of hypothermia, but is expected to make full recovery. He says his training as a Highlands EMT helped him survive.

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