HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A father and son died Friday and a stranger who dived into the water to rescue them from strong currents is still missing.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said Kristoff Murray, 27, jumped into the water without hesitation around 7 p.m. after a father and his 3-year-old son were swept out by a current while wading in water at the Apollo Beach Nature Preserve, WFTS reported.
“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,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister told WFLA.
Murray jumped into the water in an attempt to save the father and son while his wife called 911. Rescuers arrived and found the father’s body around 9 p.m. Shortly later, they found the toddler, who was taken to a hospital where he died.
Murray’s body has still not been found. His wife was hopeful Saturday as rescue crews continued their search.
“I hope he’s somewhere out there,” Tjonique Gray told BayNews9. “He’s a pretty good swimmer. We’re pretty hopeful. His mom is pretty hopeful. We’re just hoping for the best.”
The Coast Guard ended its search but other agencies including the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office continued looking for Kristoff, WFTS reported.
“We’re calling him not just a good Samaritan but our Apollo beach hero,” Chronister told WFTS.
Chronister said the incident serves as a warning to others.
“When you have areas that are clearly marked ‘no swimming,’ it’s for a reason,” Chronister told WFLA. “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.”
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