A father from Alabama made the ultimate sacrifice while attempting to save his daughter’s life on Father’s Day.
Christopher Pierce, 47, of Helena, Alabama was on vacation with his family at a resort in Panama City Beach, when his daughter got caught in a riptide.
Law enforcement authorities said that Pierce’s death could have been prevented if the family had paid attention to the red flags on the beach, which indicate dangerous swimming conditions in the Gulf.
His daughter ended up getting caught in a strong rip current on Sunday, which prevented her from swimming to shore, and Pierce swam out to save her.
He was able to rescue his child, but lost his life in the process when he got caught in a riptide himself.
“He was successfully able to get her out of the water,” Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez told KTAL News.
“But in his attempt, he got caught in a rip current that he ultimately died as a result of the incident.”
First responders attempted to revive Pierce as he was rushed to a nearby emergency room, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
“There are no words to describe what the family is probably going through when they lose their father, a husband, on Father’s Day while they’re on vacation,” Talamantez remarked.
“All of these tragedies can be avoided. All of these tragedies don’t have to happen.”
Panama City Beach Rescue have responded to 10 swimmer-in-distress calls in the past week at their beach alone.
In a statement, they implored the public to heed he red flag warnings and be aware of the consequences of entering the water when flags are present.
“That water is just as dangerous as a pool full of sharks,” Talamantez said about the current during beach hazard warnings.
“Unless you want to take the chance of us having to call your loved one, all right, and tell them that you died by making a stupid, foolish, and preventable mistake, stay out of the water on single and double red flag days.”
Retired Georgia firefighter Captain Richie Alford died at Panama City Beach days earlier saving swimmers during a double red flag day, which indicates that the water is closed to the public.
The 52-year-old first responder was lounging on the beach in a chair, when he heard a man screaming for help, his father Robert Alford told local news outlet WSAZ.
He saw two people caught in rough water and dove in to help. Alford managed to get the two swimmers back to shore, but could not escape the waves himself.
“He went to save him but got caught in a riptide and couldn’t get out,” his father said. “That’s what he lived for. That was his personality, to help people.”
Alford did not make it back to sore and was pronounced dead at 2 p.m. last Thursday afternoon.
“Richie died doing what he loved, which was helping others in their time of need,” his former fire department said in a statement. “He is a true hero.”