Pinellas County authorities say a mother who got caught in a strong tidal current while trying to save a child has died.
The mother, identified as 36-year-old Samar Aboukhdair, was critically injured when rescuers pulled her from the water at Pass-A-Grille Beach on Saturday.
Deputies were initially called to the beach each around 6 p.m. for a near drowning. When they got to the scene, bystanders and St. Pete Fire Rescue members had already helped pull Aboukhdair and four children from the water.
Witnesses told investigators Aboukhdair was at the beach with her six children as well as two of her neighbor’s children. The kids were swimming north of the Southwest Jetty when people heard them scream from the water.
Deputies say witnesses saw four children in the water, apparently caught in a strong tidal current. People on the beach were able to pull two of them to safety. Witnesses say Aboukhdair and one of the older children then went into the water and got caught in the current while trying to save another child.
St. Pete Fire Rescue got to the scene and eventually pulled everyone from the water.
Paramedics treated Aboukhdair at the scene and took her to the hospital in critical condition. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says she passed away just before 7:30 a.m. Sunday at Palms of Pasadena Hospital.
Three of the children who were pulled from the water were also taken to the hospital as a precaution. They have since been released.