She’s Expected To Make a Full Recovery

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A beautiful sunny day on Fort Myers Beach this past Saturday could have ended in tragedy if not for some fast acting good samaritans and local law enforcement agencies. 31 year old Petrona Castaneea Rafel was underwater for nearly four minutes near Bowditch Beach before she was spotted and saved.

A boater in the area dove into the water, turned Rafel over and swam her to the beach. Rafel was attempting to swim out to her 1-year old daughter, who was in a floatation device, floating away from her. Rafel was pulled underwater by the current as she tried to swim out to her daughter.

When she was back on the sand, good samaritans performed CPR on Rafel until she regained consciousness. A deputy on scene observed Rafel to be conscious, breathing, but not alert.

Randy Errivge and Tom Bradley were fishing off of Errivge’s boat when they heard screams for help. Errivge and Bradley quickly put their fishing poles away and drove towards the screams. While getting closer to the beach, Errivge spotted the child’s flotation device, which was floating away from the beach. Bradley swiftly dove into the water to retrieve the baby, who was unharmed.

Rafel was transported to Health Park Hospital for treatment by Lee County EMS.
Medical staff treating Rafel stated she would make a full recovery, and, that appears to be the case. We called the hospital Monday and she is no longer a patient at Health Park.

One mystery remains. Who saved Rafel from drowning? Errivge and Bradley told authorities they are not sure who brought Rafel back to shore.

We were on the scene Saturday morning and recorded this video with a witness.