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Father, daughter caught in riptide, drown near Pass-a-Grille in Florida

South Florida Rip Currents
Posted at 9:12 AM, Apr 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-25 09:12:20-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A father and daughter are dead after drowning at Pass-a-Grille beach Sunday evening, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

Authorities said Michael Stephens, 42, and his 10-year-old daughter Isabella were swept offshore in a strong rip current. Deputies responded just after 6:40 p.m.

Authorities said Stephens was at the beach with his three daughters, Isabella, 10, Trinity, 13, Brittany, 20, and Brittany's boyfriend, Jessie Johnson, 20.

Stephens, Isabella, Brittany, and Johnson were all swimming when they noticed the outgoing rip current get stronger, detectives said. Johnson helped Brittany out of the water but when he went back to help Stephens and Isabella, they were too far out and the current became too strong, according to authorities.

RELATED LINK: Rip currents in Florida: What to keep in mind

While Johnson continued to try to rescue them, 13-year-old Trinity called 911 and gave the phone to a passerby, the sheriff's office said.

Deputies in a helicopter saw Stephens and Isabelle a half mile off the coast around 7:57 p.m. The sheriff's office worked with the coast guard and St. Pete Beach Fire Rescue to recover Stephens and Isabella.

The father and daughter were taken to a local hospital, where they were pronounced dead. The sheriff's office said the incident doesn't appear suspicious.