A Georgia father drowned in southwest Florida Tuesday after saving his 8-year-old daughter from a riptide, police said.
Thomas Zakrewski, 46, and his family were walking along a curved sandbar on Upper Captiva Island around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said.
Zakrewski’s wife, who had been walking ahead of the family, turned around to see him and their 8-year-old daughter struggling in the water and immediately jumped in, the sheriff’s office said.
Zakrewski managed to pass her their daughter but continued struggling and disappeared into the water, according to the sheriff’s office.
A search-and-rescue crew involving multiple agencies responded to the scene. The sheriff’s office said rough waters and wind hampered their search efforts.
More than three hours later, the U.S. Coast Guard and sheriff’s office personnel recovered Zakrewski’s body about a half-mile from where he was last seen, the News-Press reported.
The manner in which Zakrewski died was not immediately clear. There have been 28 deaths across the U.S. this year due to riptides, according to the National Weather Service.