How divers recovered a man’s lost prosthetic leg from the ocean floor

DeWalt Mix was paddle-boarding off the coast of Long Beach, training for the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo when he lost his specialized prosthetic leg.

The Fire Department dove right in to try to retrieve it for him, but to no avail. When rescue divers couldn’t find it on Sunday, Mix all but gave up hope of ever seeing it again. He figured it was buried on the bottom of the ocean, having taken with it any hope he had of competing in the javelin throw at the Paralympic Games.

They still couldn’t find it on Monday. But armed with new information on precisely where Mix was when his leg slipped off, the divers went out for a third day Tuesday. Soon after, one of the divers sent a message to the Hollywood writer-director-producer’s cellphone.

“He texted us a photo of the divers coming out of the water with a triumphant fist in the air,” Mix said Wednesday, letting lose a joyful laugh. And in one of the divers’ other hands was Mix’s missing carbon fiber and titanium leg.

What’s more, it was seemingly no worse for being submerged in salt water for three days. That was a big sigh of relief for Mix, who was contemplating whether or not to order a new prosthetic, which could take up to seven months to deliver and cost as much as $20,000.

“The biggest part of this whole story is the fact that none of these rescue operators gave up,” he said. “I’m just amazed at how professional and dedicated they all are.”

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