A father from Georgia on vacation with his family in Florida drowned after saving his 8-year-old daughter from a powerful ripping stream, authorities said Wednesday.
The tragedy occurred around 5:38 pm. Tuesday as Thomas Zakrewski, his wife and daughter strolled on Upper Captiva Island near Fort Meyers, "the mother walking in front of her family looked back and discovered that her husband and 8-year-old child were struggling in the water "according to a statement from the Lee County Sheriff's Department.
"Immediately, the mother jumped into the water and the father managed to pass the child to him," the statement said. "Unfortunately, the father continued to struggle and disappeared into the water."
Sheriff's deputies, Captiva firefighters, US coastguards and many other rescuers searched the coast in search of Zakrewski, 46, before his body was found Tuesday night, officials said Wednesday.
"The rough waters and the strong wind" hindered the search, according to the Sheriff's statement.
Sgt County Sheriff Lee Russell Park said powerful currents of return, such as those who took away Zakrewski, are not visible to the naked eye.
"Pay close attention to the areas surrounding the sound bars," said Park, an affiliate of NBC, WBBH. "The water comes in and out somewhere but we do not always see it."
According to the National Meteorological Service, there was a recall notice in effect on Tuesday in which the family had walked, strolling.
"Wait for the conditions to improve, do not risk that," Park said. "It's not worth risking anyone's life."