A man and a three-year-old child are dead and another man is missing after currents Friday swept them out to sea at a Tampa beach in Florida, authorities said.
The man and the child were wading into the water when they “got taken by the strong current” at the beach, said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister at a Friday news conference.
They received a “frantic” 911 call from a woman, whose boyfriend, identified later as Kristoff Murray, 27, “saw that the adult and child were struggling.
He “immediately, without hesitation, jumped into the water to try to help save the both of them” before getting swept up in the current as well, Chronister said.
“We are certainly calling him now, not just a good Samaritan, but our Apollo Beach hero,” he added.
Later Friday, a boater saw the body of the man who had been with the child in the water, Chronister said. That man was recovered a short time later deceased, and the child was recovered a few minutes later and transported to the hospital where he died.
As of Sunday afternoon, Murray was still missing. Authorities scaled back their search Sunday.
A rip current at the beachcan be deadly, but experts say you can escape by doing this
There have been at least 14 deaths due to rip currents across the U.S. this year, according to the National Weather Service. The U.S. Lifesaving Association estimates more than 100 people are killed by rip currents every year, and lifeguards rescue at least 30,000 swimmers a year from rip currents.
Chronister urged everyone to remember that “water safety is paramount” in a statement Friday.
“It’s summertime in Florida. It’s hot. We all want to be in the water, we want to cool off. But please, when you have areas that are clearly marked no swimming, it’s for a reason,” Chronister said during the news conference.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Apollo Beach hero’ still missing after Florida currents kill two
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