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Man drowns trying to help children

Strong rip currents may be to blame

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Officials say a man drowned while trying to help children who were in distress off a pet beach at Honeymoon Island State Park on Florida's Gulf coast.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Jennifer Diaz says the man spotted the children on Easter Sunday and became distressed as he was swimming toward them.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the man was taken to Mease Dunedin Hospital but did not survive.

The man's name has not been released.

The state agency is investigating.

There was no word on the condition of the children the man was trying to help. The newspaper reports rip currents have been strong off the state park for several days.