A man and his 10-year-old daughter died after they were carried away by a strong rip current during a family beach trip over the weekend, Florida authorities say.
The man, 42-year-old Michael Stephens, was at Pass-a-Grille Beach on Sunday with his three daughters — Isabella Stephens, 10, Trinity Stephens, 13, and Brittany Stephens, 20 — and Brittany’s boyfriend, Jessie Johnson, 20, when the incident occurred, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
According to the sheriff’s office, Michael Stephens was in the water with Isabella Stephens, Brittany Stephens and Johnson when they noticed a strengthening rip current.
The Sheriff’s office said Johnson was able to help Brittany Stephens out of the water, but when he went back to help the others, they were too far from shore.
While Johnson worked to rescue the father and daughter pair from the current that “had become too strong,” Trinity Stephens called 911 for help.
Just before 8 p.m., authorities spotted the dad and the 10-year-old about a half-mile off the coast. First responders took them to a local hospital, where they were pronounced dead, the release says.
Pass-a-Grille is a small beach neighborhood about 30 miles southwest of Tampa.
Detectives are still investigating the incident, but say the drownings do not appear to be suspicious.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that rip currents can be strong and move fast, and advises swimming parallel to the shore to escape them.