Georgia father rip current in the Gulf of Mexico before he drowned to death

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A Georgia father visiting southwest Florida with his family pulled his 8-year-old daughter to safety from a dangerous rip current in the Gulf of Mexico before he drowned to death on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

The body of Thomas Zakrewski, 46, was found Tuesday night, hours after he had gone missing in the treacherous tides.

According to a statement from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Zakrewski had been walking with his wife and daughter alongside a curved sandbar on the shore of Upper Captiva Island near Fort Meyers.

His wife, walking ahead of her family, “glanced backward and discovered that her husband and 8-year-old child were struggling in the water,” authorities said.

Though she immediately “jumped into the water” to help, she was only able to grab her daughter, who was passed to her by her husband.

“Unfortunately, the father continued to struggle and disappeared into the water” around 5:38 p.m., the statement read.

By approximately 9:54 p.m., a multi-agency search team called into action by the Marine Emergency Response Team — including the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and Aviation Unit, the United States Coast Guard, the Florida Fish Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Sanibel and Captiva Fire Departments — were able to finally find Zakrewski’s body.

“Rough waters and considerable wind” hampered MERT’s efforts, authorities explained.

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Rip current deaths are common in Florida. Last year alone, 27 people drowned in the state’s currents, according to the National Weather Service. This year, 12 people (excluding Zakrewski) have died off Florida beaches in rip current deaths — nearly half of the 28 reported nationwide.

The National Weather Service had issued a rip current advisory along the beach where the family had been strolling on Tuesday.

RELATED VIDEO: Grieving Mom Aims to Save Other Children After 3-Year-Old Son Drowns

Said currents are not obvious to the naked eye, cautioned Lee County Sheriff’s Sgt. Russell Park. “Pay particular attention to areas around sandbars,” he told WBBH, per NBC News. “The water is coming in and it’s got to go out somewhere but you can’t always see it.”
“Wait until the conditions improve, don’t risk it,” Park added. “It’s not worth risking anybody’s life.”
Those who are caught in a rip current should swim parallel to shore, slowly moving back to land at an angle, the National Ocean Service advised.
COMMON SENSE IF RIP GETS YOU RELAX AFTER FEW HUNDRED FEET SWIM RIGHT OR LEFT NOT THE WAY YOU COME
 

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Hooked On Quack

DOCTOR LUV Phd in flying under the radar.
Sad news. Prayers for the families.


I don't know, but I would think the Atlantic had a stronger current than the Gulf ??
 
Thread starter #3
Sad news. Prayers for the families.


I don't know, but I would think the Atlantic had a stronger current than the Gulf ??
BIBLE QUOTE CONSIDER YOUR WAYS ITS NOT GOD FAULT SAD BUT SOME PASTOR WILL SAY EVERY THING HAPPENS FOR REASON GOD TOOK HIM HOME NOT. THE REASON THAT CAR RUN OVER YOU DID YOU LOOK CROSSING STREET BOTH WAYS DUH COMMON SENSE
 
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Hooked On Quack

DOCTOR LUV Phd in flying under the radar.
BIBLE QUOTE CONSIDER YOUR WAYS ITS NOT GOD FAULT SAD BUT SOME PASTOR WILL SAY EVERY THING HAPPENS FOR REASON GOD TOOK HIM HOME NOT. THE REASON THAT CAR RUN OVER YOU DID YOU LOOK BOTH WAYS DUH COMMON SENSE

Er uhm okay, you didn't answer my question, but really ??
 
Sad news. Prayers for the families.


I don't know, but I would think the Atlantic had a stronger current than the Gulf ??
The storm in the Gulf might have had something to do with stronger rip tide. And yes the Atlantic side usually has more. Even on a fairly calm day when I lived at Daytona it was not unusual to see several pulled from the ocean.
 

georgia357

Senior Member
Scary stuff for sure. About 40 years ago at Daytona, my daughter got carried out by a rip tide, it looked like she just shot out into the ocean. I swam out to her and went parallel to the beach without any trouble. Both of us made it ok but it sure scared the ice hockey out of all of us.
 

1eyefishing

...just joking, seriously.
(derp)
I was drowned a couple times in big surf in Central Florida and the Outer Banks. It was a violent and scary struggle both times.
But I hear that drowning to death is a much calmer, almost relaxing experience...
 

dwhee87

Senior Member
Was at Tybee this week, and while the current wasn't ripping out, it was ripping up the beach. If you stood in one spot and anchored yourself, the sand would scour out around your feet. We had to keep a close eye on the kids, as they'd go into the surf in front of us, and within a couple minutes, would be 50 yards down the beach.
 
Dang, 4 1/2 hr response time or she called 4 1/2 hrs after he disappeared? Those times are way off either way.
It took them that long to find the body. I read where he was found 1/2 mile from where he got ripped into the ocean.
 

Redbow

Senior Member
Sad news indeed Prayers sent for the man's family and friends. We have had several drownings on the coast here this summer due to rip currents. People get caught in the currents even when red flags are up and lifeguards tell folks not to go into the Ocean. But people just won't listen or a certain number of them won't. They don't realize just how quickly the Ocean can swallow you up. Once caught in a rip current most people panic and that is usually a death sentence unless help arrives very quickly...You can't fight the Ocean and win in most cases..
 

Mark K

Senior Member
You can’t fight the ocean, but you can play by it’s rules and win. Rip currents generally don’t drag you under, they carry you out. If you just go along for the ride you’ll eventually get to where you can get out of it and swim back to shore. Or at least be rescued. If you can float, you can live.
 

LTZ25

Senior Member
My son is in Panama City and said he's seen 5 rescues today and one that was to late to help , coroner just came and they took body away , just below their balcony .
 
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