Fort Myers man drowns after saving wife from rip current

FORT MYERS, Fla.- A woman says her husband drowned after saving her from a rip current off Miami Beach.

“He did the most amazing thing in the world that he gave his life for me,” Kendra Smith said of her husband, 34-year-old Sherrod Whittington. “I appreciate that, I really do and I’m going to honor him until the day I die because of that… He’ll always be my hero.”

Whittington was not breathing when he was pulled from the water Sunday afternoon at the same time that other people who got caught in the currents were rescued by lifeguards.

“As they were pulling me under, I was trying to hold onto him, he was trying to hold onto me,” Smith recalled. “In some kind of wave, he lost his grasp and then he got me back again, he found me again.”

Miami Beach Fire Rescue Capt. Charlton Price says Whittington had managed to save his wife from a strong rip current before he got pulled under.

“I heard him hollering and screaming, and I was hollering and screaming for them to save him and begging them, please save him,” Smith said.

Whittington was pronounced dead at a hospital.

“Life is just so short. I would have never guessed in a million years that we would go have fun and the next thing you know, he’s gone,” Smith said.

The Miami Herald reports there was a red flag warning at the time. National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Caracozza says strong easterly winds led to a high risk of rip currents.

If you’d like to help with Whittington’s funeral expenses, you can donate to the GoFundMe page.

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