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Authorities recover body of man who tried to rescue 2 as current swept them away

“Your husband, your brother — his actions were nothing less than heroic,” the Hillsborough County, Florida, sheriff said. “He risked and ultimately gave his life for two complete strangers who were in need.”
/ Source: Associated Press

APOLLO BEACH, Fla. — Florida deputies believe they found the body Monday of a good Samaritan who tried to rescue a father and son who drowned off a Tampa Bay area beach last week.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said during a news conference that he believes the body recovered off Apollo Beach is Kristoff Murray, though his office is awaiting confirmation from the medical examiner.

Chronister spoke directly to Murray’s family during the news conference, wishing them peace, comfort and closure, despite the horrible tragedy.

“Your husband, your brother — his actions were nothing less than heroic,” Chronister said. “He risked and ultimately gave his life for two complete strangers who were in need.”

Murray, 27, and his wife were at the Apollo Beach Nature Preserve on Friday when they saw Janosh Purackal, 37, and his 3-year-old son, Danial Purackal, struggling in a rip current, officials said. Murray went to help, and all three disappeared.

Rescue crews found Purackal and his son that evening. The father was pronounced dead at the scene, and the child died on the way to the hospital, officials said. Crews from the sheriff’s office, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continued to search for Murray over the weekend.

Swimming is prohibited at the preserve, but it’s common for visitors to wade in the shallow water, officials said. The park remained closed Monday.