A man from McDonough drowned in southwest Florida after saving an 8-year-old family member from a rip current Tuesday, authorities said.
Thomas Zakrewski, 46, and his family were walking along a curved sandbar on Upper Captiva Island, which is near Fort Myers, the Lee County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. His wife, who was walking ahead of the family, looked back to see her husband and the girl struggling in the water.
The woman jumped into the water and Zakrewski passed the 8-year-old to her before he disappeared into the ocean, the post said.
After more than four hours, U.S. Coast Guard and sheriff’s office personnel recovered his body, the sheriff’s office told AJC.com. The Marine Emergency Response Team, Sanibel police, Captiva police and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission personnel assisted with the search.
The manner of Zakrewski’s death has not been officially determined.
The National Weather Service has ruled 28 deaths across the U.S. this year as due to rip currents. Of those drownings, 12 happened in Florida.
The NWS noted the drowning data is preliminary and may not be completely accurate since many go unreported and undocumented.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Zakrewski drowned after saving his 8-year-old daughter. However, his family told AJC.com that the girl was a family member of his, but not his daughter.
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