‘Hero’ still missing after trying to save drowning father, toddler swept out by current in Florida


APOLLO BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – The search for the good Samaritan who tried to rescue a father and a toddler who drowned in Florida has continued into Saturday morning.

The good Samaritan was identified Saturday as 27-year-old Kristoff Murray.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said deputies received a frantic 911 call from Murray’s girlfriend when the three were swept away with the current at the Apollo Beach Nature Preserve in Tampa Bay.

The father and the toddler, who is believed to be approximately 3 years old, did not survive. Their bodies were recovered around 9 p.m. Friday.

As of Saturday morning, crews have yet to find Murray.

“Couldn’t be more grateful for his heroic actions. Unfortunately, the current was just that strong that he wasn’t able to attempt any rescue efforts either as good and as pure as his intentions were,” Chronister said.

Multiple agencies, including the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, the Coast Guard, Tampa Police and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission are involved in the search.

Sheriff Chronister said the tragedy serves as an important reminder for families heading to the beach over the summer.

“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 having a life jacket on,” Chronister warned.

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