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Iowa man drowns during Florida honeymoon after ‘3 days of wedded bliss’

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Amid a slew of summer-drownings headlines comes a particularly tragic one out of Florida: A newlywed says her husband drowned during what was his first-ever ocean swim.

The Florida Times-Union reports 22-year-old Dalton Rae Cottrell of Malcolm, Iowa, was swimming with his wife off Crescent Beach in St. Johns County when the two ran into trouble with the current on Tuesday. His wife says as they were pulled out toward sea, Cottrell began to panic and was dragging her underwater as she tried to help him.

Cheyenne Pernice-Hedrick told authorities he was under for at least a minute before a St. Johns County lifeguard, assisted by a swimmer with a paddleboard, got Cottrell back to the shore. They were unable to revive him.

The St. Augustine Record flags a Facebook post made by Pernice-Hedrick. “3 days of wedded bliss turned into a nightmare very quickly,” she wrote. “There is so much fear and uncertainty coursing through myself. My parents came down early this morning to be with me as I begin the next journey. Never did I think at 22 would I be a wife and then a widow so quickly. … I love you so much Dalton Cottrell.”

(A father drowned this month trying to save his daughter.)

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