Florida Mom of 22-Year-Old Diver Who Was Missing at Sea Says Finding Him 'Had to Be a Miracle'

A Florida family is thanking their lucky stars after a loved one went missing in the ocean last week.

Dylan Gartenmayer, 22, was rescued by his family after he became lost at sea while free diving near Key West on Jan. 19, according to previous reports.

Gartenmayer's family leapt into action after learning he was stranded in open water — and a now-viral video captured his harrowing rescue and happy reunion.

Appearing with her son on Wednesday's episode of Today, Dylan's mother Tabitha "Tabby" Gartenmayer said finding her son safe "definitely had to be a miracle."

"It had to be God protecting him the whole time, our angels above, because for us to land right on him, you can see it was a needle in a haystack out there," she told Today hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie.

RELATED: Missing Hiker Found Injured But Alive on Same Mountain Where Search Continues for Julian Sands

Dylan said during the interview he was spearfishing last Thursday when he drifted nearly a mile away from the boat that took him out to sea, and was forced to hold his breath for nearly two minutes as he was swept away.

He claimed the men he was diving with — whom he had met on Facebook — "just left" the scene, and didn't call the Coast Guard for help.

For more on this story, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

"I was just getting dragged further and further and I watched the boat just slowly getting smaller," Dylan said Wednesday. "It was definitely like, 'Okay, this is starting to get serious for sure.' "

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Meanwhile, Dylan's family had received word that he had gone missing while out diving. "It was the worst call I ever got in my life," Tabby said Wednesday, recalling the moment her phone rang.

"I got the call right after I got off of work, and my ex-husband, his dad, said 'Tab, Dylan's been missing for an hour,' and the way he sounded, it literally took my breath away," she explained. "I couldn't even breathe. Like everything just went away, and I was just standing there stuck."

Soon after, Dylan's family piled onto his grandfather's boat and ventured into the open water to search for him. Tabby said the family "did 58 miles per hour nonstop" as they raced across the water.

"It took the family to come together within seconds, because that's our baby," she said. "And that's what you do. That's how we are. And we are always going to be there to protect our family."

RELATED: 12-Year-Old Boy Catches Great White Shark While Fishing in Florida: 'I Was Scared,' Says Mom

As the sun was setting, Dylan was dealing with less than 10 feet of visibility, he said. "Watching that sun drop, that was is kinda making my heart sink," he told Today. "I was like, 'Oh, this is gonna be a long night out here.' "

Beforehand, Dylan fashioned a raft out of buoys he found by a reef. The idea, he said, was "to get up as high as I can, keep a little warmth and put less of my body in the water for any potential predators."

Dylan said in the interview he encountered a couple types of jellyfish in the water. "Luckily the wet suit was there protecting me," he added.

As night began to fall, Tabby said that she had the boat slow down in order to better see the water. A short time later, Dylan appeared on the right side of the boat.

RELATED: Remains of Missing Hurricane Ian Victim Discovered on Sunken Sailboat in Fort Myers Beach

It didn't take the young man long to realize his family had come to his rescue, either. "I was like, 'Oh my god, that's my grandpa's boat!' " he said.

Dylan hugged his mom as soon as he was pulled onto the boat, which he said "was the greatest relief ever."

Despite the ordeal, Dylan plans to resume spearfishing soon. His mother approves, as long as he is safe.

"He's a grown man, it's his passion, and every time he goes out, he's like, 'This is what I love to do,' " she said. "As long as he is doing what he loves to do, but he is safer, and goes with people that will be close to the boat and watch him ... that's a big deal for me."