“Miracle”: one priest saves another from drowning

“Miracle”: one priest saves another from drowning August 13, 2012

It happened last week in Florida.  Details: 

The Rev. Krzysztof Bugno hovered over the lifeless body of his friend — also a priest — seconds after pulling the struggling man from the waves at Canvaeral National Seashore and prayed.

A few harrowing moments later, Bugno got his miracle.

“I didn’t know CPR, but I felt I was guided . . . it’s a miracle because God gave me the strength supernaturally,” said the Catholic priest, now credited with saving the life of a fellow clergy member during a Wednesday excursion. “He came back to life. I believe it’s a miracle.”

The near-drowning happened about 11 a.m. Wednesday as 52-year-old Bugno, a priest at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in Titusville, and 71-year-old Tadeusz Koncewicz from Poland were visiting the beach. The dramatic rescue involved Bugno and several bystanders on the south end of Playalinda Beach, known for its undeveloped dune lines and clothing-optional beaches further to the north.

Koncewicz, who was revived, was flown by a medical helicopter to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, and he is expected to survive, reported Jeff Taylor, a spokesman for Brevard County Fire-Rescue.

Witnesses said Koncewicz had waded into the water when the waves pulled him out farther from shore and left him in distress.

“He’s a big guy. But the waves tossed and turned him. We went there and weren’t intending to swim, but somehow he went a little bit further out,” Bugno said, adding that several Good Samaritans rushed to help him pull the unresponsive Koncewicz from the water.

“I realized he’s not responding . . . So I run and move him to the shore, and actually he was already kind of changing color,” Bugno said shortly after the rescue effort.

Bugno said he attempted CPR, including what he said seemed like 10 minutes of chest compressions, as rescue crews from Brevard County and the Kennedy Space Center began arriving.

“For the first time in my life, I saved my friend,” Bugno said, tearing up. “It was very dramatic.”

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