Groom saves drowning man during wedding pictures


An interesting story out of Orange Beach. A couple's wedding day turned heroic.

While taking wedding pictures, the groom ran out into the Gulf to save a drowning swimmer.

"We planned it in a week," said Cindy Edwards, the bride.

These weren't your average nuptials. Just after the ceremony while taking pictures, things got scary.

"A lady had come up to us and said that guy is out there struggling. He can't get back, he's having a hard time," she said.

Remembering her new husband is a former lifeguard and a coast guardsman, Cindy told him he had to go.

"She said don't worry about your pants, just go. See you've got to listen to your wife because otherwise, you're in trouble," said Zac Edwards, the groom.

There were red flags up but some people didn't heed the warning. First responders on duty were away saving someone else. So Zac swam out into the gulf. Zac said he was given a boogie board. 17-year-old Owen Higbee swam out to Zac to bring it to him. Higbee swam back on his own.

"And he goes to start taking his shirt off and he went off to take off his bottoms and I was like 'you don't have time' the guy kept drifting further and further out and he was struggling," she said.

For a moment, they say, Edwards, the young man, and another young lady who went out to help were stuck.

Zac said the young lady who went out to help was encouraging them both throughout the entire rescue. The young lady happens to be Lauren Higbee, a Junior at University if Central Oklahoma where she's a part of the rowing team.

"It's scary. You don't wanna lose a loved one, unfortunately, living here, we hear about it way too often. Just be mindful of those flags and knowing to be cautious," Cindy added.

First responders showed up shortly after and brought them both to safety. Zac says all he could think about was his bride.

"It beat us up pretty hard getting in and we pulled up on the beach everybody grabs him. I got up and she's running out in her wedding dress. I'm bleeding from the nose and trying to tell her get away because I know how important that dress was and I didn't want to ruin that," he said.It's an unusual wedding story, you can certainly tell that by the pictures, a day they wouldn't trade for the world.

"It's a story to tell. I told her. The grandkids are going to have a story to tell. It was a perfect day. Beautiful wedding," he explained.

In fact, the new Mrs. Edwards says she got a package deal.

"Hero and hubby in the same day," she said.

"She's my hero every day," Zac added.

The Edwards say they spoke to the family of the young man from Mississippi. He's doing fine, a little sore but back to work and started his first day of senior year today.

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Toi Thornton is a Reporter. His Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism comes from Dillard University in 2014 and his Master's degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University in 2016. He previously worked as the Fox anchor in Lafayette, LA.

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