ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- A tourist says his nighttime stroll on a Georgia beach turned his holiday into the "worst vacation ever" after a rip tide swept him out to sea.

Nineteen-year-old Blake Spataro of Louisiana tells WJAX-TV he spent nearly 10 hours in the Atlantic Ocean, where no one could hear his screams over the waves and wind. He says he "didn't want to die out there," so he floated on his back and "was talking to God the entire night."

Glynn County Emergency Management Director Jay Wiggins writes on Facebook that officials were about to switch the search from rescue to recovery Wednesday when they learned the teenager was alive. He had floated 3 miles (5 kilometres) and then realized he could walk ashore on a Sea Island golf course.

You know I realized today that in my time as EMA Director, I have delivered a lot of bad news, evacuation orders, severe...

Posted by Glynn County EMA and Homeland Security on Wednesday, July 11, 2018