Scene where dangerous current swept man away after saving his daughter

Reporter: Morgan Rynor
The sandbar where the family found themselves. (Credit: WINK News)
The sandbar where the family found themselves. (Credit: WINK News)

Deputies said a man that saved his daughter who got caught in a dangerous current off of North Captiva Island Tuesday. That man did not survive.

Dylan Franchak is vacationing with family and friends on North Captiva. On Tuesday evening, they witnessed another family’s worst nightmare.

“911 was called,” Franchak said. “We came out and saw helicopters and boats searching the water and I mean everyone around was in distress.”

The Upper Captiva Fire District said a family was out on the sandbar. At low tide, it separated into two sandbars and the rip current in between swept one father, Thomas Zakrewski, 46 years old, away after he saved his 8-year-old daughter.

“He was in the water and they could not find him; he went under and did not come back up,” said Craig Denison, assistant chief of Upper Captiva Fire Rescue. “We started basically doing a grid search of the area.”

The U.S. Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Sanibel Fire Rescue and Lee County Sheriff’s Office all joined in on the extensive search for the missing man.

“9:30, 10 o’clock at night, they found the gentleman washed ashore at the time,” Denison said.

“To think that somebody could get swept away by water that’s probably to your knees is insane to think,” Franchak said.

Now, vacationers like Franchak are asking for more warning signs and sending their love to the family.

“There’s nothing like what you’re going through,” Franchak said. “We’re sorry that you have to go through what you’re going through, but we wish the best for you and there are lots of people that are going to be wishing the best for you.”

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