Adult and Infant Drown on Fla. Beach, Good Samaritan Who Tried to Rescue Them Remains Missing
"We're certainly calling him now, not just a good samaritan, but our Apollo Beach Hero," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said of the individual
The search for an individual who attempted to save an adult male and toddler from drowning on a Florida beach continues.
On Friday evening, deputies were sent to the Apollo Beach Nature Preserve after they received a call about a man and toddler who were swimming and taken away by a current, according to a statement from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Their identities have not yet been revealed.
Another individual — later identified as Kristoff Murray by Hillsborough County Sheriff spokesperson Natalia Verdina, per The Tampa Bay Times — reportedly jumped into the water in hopes of rescuing the two, but was caught by the current as well.
Search and rescue teams recovered the unidentified adult male's body around 9 p.m local time before the child was also found and then transported to a nearby hospital, though both were eventually pronounced dead, police confirmed.
"Our hearts break for the father and son who lost their lives tonight. The horrible sight led a selfless stranger to sacrifice his own life, in an attempt to save them," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "As we aggressively search these waters to try and locate this individual, we are urging everyone to remember that water safety is paramount."
As of Saturday afternoon, Murray's location continues to remain unknown. Chronister said that he is a "hero" for deciding to venture into the water to help the two struggling individuals.
"We're certainly calling him now, not just a good Samaritan, but our Apollo Beach Hero," Chronister said, per Fox 13.
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The sheriff also noted that chances of rescuing Murray alive are small, though he promised to continue to search for him until he is found.
"The likelihood of this individual being alive is probably slim, but we're going to give him every ounce of hope that we have," Chronister added.
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Chronister also told Fox 13 that he was not sure why the two victims were in the water in the first place on Friday evening as he implored others to learn from the tragedy and take proper precautions should they find themselves in similar situations.
"It's summertime in Florida. It's hot. We all want to be in the water; we all want to cool off," he said. "But please, when you have areas that are clearly marked no swimming, it's for a reason. I'm asking every parent out there, don't put an infant child near any type of moving or open body of water without a lifejacket on."