JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The attention shifted from the athletes on the sand to a man being administered CPR by paramedics during the "Never Quit Never" event Sunday at Jacksonville Beach.
Witnesses say an unidentified man was brought to shore by participants in the Trident Challenge. The challenge consists of a 500-meter ocean swim, a crawl through the sand, pull ups and paddleboarding. The challenge can be done with a relay team or solo.
Ocean rescue personnel who were contracted by Never Quit Never had jet ski's in the water, lifeguards on surfboards, and buoys out at sea directing swimmers where to go.
Paramedics performed CPR on the sand for several minutes on the unidentified man before rushing him to an ambulance and to the hospital.
"It's something you never want to see but it does happen unfortunately. We had all the people in place to try to prevent something like this. We helped Ocean Rescue in their response in the quickest and most efficient manner possible," said Lt. Richard Ghiotto, a Jacksonville Beach lifeguard.
Before swimmers entered the water in the Trident challenge, they were urged to look out for other swimmers who may be in distress. The victim's friend was visibly shaken up after the victim was transported to the hospital.
"I work with him, and he wanted to do this event with us. We are in shock right now and we want the family to identify who he is, if they wish to," said the victim's friend.
The victim's family was on the beach and understandably, refused to speak with reporters.
"I think all of our lifeguards did the best that we could in this situation, and we all are hoping that this man really pulls through," Ghiotto.
The victim's identity was not released by paramedics or family members at the scene said Ghiotto.