Florida mom dies after trying to save children from tidal current at beach

A Florida woman who went to the beach with her six children died Saturday after trying to save four of them who were caught in a tidal current, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The children were saved by four people walking on the beach when the incident occurred.

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Samar Aboukhdair, 36, of Lakeland, was at St. Pete Beach with her children and two of her neighbor’s children, the newspaper reported. The children were between the ages of 5 and 13.

Shortly after 6 p.m., four of the children were pulled into a strong current and Aboukhdair went after the children, BayNews9 reported. Aboukhdair also became trapped in the current, the television station reported.

Richard Grande, 56, and his wife, Laura Grande, were walking on the beach when they heard a child shout, the Times reported.

Richard Grande, a former sanitation worker in New York City who also was a responder after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said he “kicked into rescue mode,” the newspaper reported.

"When you hear kids screaming, your brain shuts down and your heart kicks in," Richard Grande told BayNews9. "That's the way I felt, these kids are not dying in front of me."

The Grandes, along with two other bystanders, Greg Lynch and Scott Cooper, did their best to help while responders were on the way, according to a news release from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Aboukhdair was "going on just trying to hold her baby up," Richard Grande told the Times. "It was just a bad scene."

The Grandes were able to save two of the children. St. Pete Fire Rescue pulled Aboukhdair and the remaining children from the water, the newspaper reported.

Aboukhdair was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died Sunday morning, BayNews9 reported. Three of the children were also taken to the hospital with minor injuries but were released later Saturday, the Times reported

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