A 22-year-old Iowa man drowned Tuesday while on his honeymoon in Florida after he went swimming in the ocean for the first time in his life, authorities said.
Dalton Cottrell's widow, Cheyenne Cottrell, confirmed his death in a Facebook post on Wednesday, saying that three days of "wedded bliss turned into a nightmare very quickly."
"Never did I think at 22 would I be a wife and then a widow so quickly," she wrote in the heartbreaking post.
According to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, Cheyenne Cottrell said she and her husband were swimming at a St. Augustine beach when they got caught in a current that pulled them into the ocean.
"Cheyenne advised this was Dalton's 1st time ever in the ocean and started to freak out," police said in a report filed about the incident. Cottrell said she tried to help her husband, but struggled because he kept pulling her under.
At one point, Cottrell was underwater for about a minute, Cheyenne told police. When he came back to the surface, "his eyes were rolled in the back of his head," the report said.
A lifeguard and paddleboarder managed to reach Cottrell and pull him onto a paddleboard. At that point, he was "gray" and "foaming at the mouth," police said. Lifeguards performed CPR before Cottrell was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:12 p.m.
The couple were married on July 27, just two days after Dalton's 22nd birthday, Jacksonville.com reported.
In her Facebook post, Cheyenne wrote that her husband's death left her in a state of shock.
“There is so much fear and uncertainty coursing through myself,” she wrote. “My parents came down early this morning to be with me as I begin the next journey ... Please pray for I and all families as we grief.
"I love you so much Dalton Cottrell," she added.
Dalton Cottrell was a studying to be pastor at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa, where Cheyenne also is a student, the school said in a statement.
“I would like to encourage Eagle Nation to pray for, love, and support both Cheyenne and Dalton’s family," school president Jim Tillotson said in a statement. "Let’s go heavy on love and light on advice. It is moments like this that Eagle Nation means the most. May we do all we can to support all of them through this difficult time."
Daniel Vance, the couple's pastor at Fellowship Baptist Church in Des Moines, told NBC affiliate WHO the young man's death was "devastating."
"Just so sad to hear a couple that we love, in a moment of such tenderness, just having that loss,” Vance told the station.
TODAY reached out to Cheyenne Cottrell on Facebook but didn't receive a response. A GoFundMe site was launched to help pay for funeral costs.