Good Samaritan opens up about trying to save drowning teen

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - For two days now, Carlo Fortner says the tragedy has been playing over and over again in his mind.

"If I would have done that differently or gone in that direction, something, I could have got him," Fortner said.

Fortner and his friends were playing volleyball on Sunday afternoon on the beach in Pass Christian when they suddenly heard screaming.

"I ran by the water's edge to get a better listen, and at that point I could make out that someone was in distress, that someone was drowning," Fortner said.

The men could see the teen's hands in the air in between the rough waves.

"We started to swim towards him, but it was a ways away from where we were at," Fortner recalled. "We were swimming against wave action that day, so it was difficult for us physically."

At one point, Fortner admitted he was short of breath and fearful for his own life.

"I had to stop and kind of taxi to the side, where the side of the marina is at, to catch my breath and then get back into the water," Fortner said. "I was tip toeing at some points, and at other points I was just dunking underneath trying to get passed that to get to the individual. It was very taxing on the body."

Unfortunately, the men were unable to swim to the victim. A boater came and threw the men life jackets, and then they were able to pull the victim from the water and the boater brought him to shore.

"For me personally, it's a little bit more personal," Fortner said. "My grandfather drowned when I was about 8-years-old, so my heart was pounding because I knew what it meant."

Hours after the men pulled the teen from the water, 19-year-old Tony Nations passed away. Fortner said the news was devastating.

"Just send out your prayers to them because that is all you can do," Fortner said. "That person is gone, and for the rest of our lives that person won't be there."

If you want to help the Nation family with funeral expenses, the teen's mother set up an account at Hancock Bank.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.