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Florida man drowns while trying to save his canine best friend

Fla., man drowns while trying to save dog
Screen shot/Joanna Patterson via Tampa Bay Times

According to Wednesday's Tamba Bay Times, swift currents near Honeymoon Island in Fla., are being blamed for the death of a Largo man who drowned on Tuesday while trying to rescue his dog.

Sam Rizkallah, 58, encountered trouble when he started to swim towards his four-year-old boxer, "Oliver," who was struggling in the water.

Rizkallah and friend, Todd Cochran, had been standing in chest deep water, working to anchor a 27-foot boat, when Oliver jumped from the vessel and started to swim towards them - along the way, the current began to pull Oliver away.

The same strong-moving current that pulled Oliver off-course, ultimately caused Rizkallah's demise.

Wildlife commission spokesman Gary Morse told the Tampa Bay Times:

These two gentlemen (Patti and Rizkallah) were not in deep water,"

But a strong current can have an effect on you no matter how strong you are or how well you had previously planned.

Morse's reference to Patti stems from the May 24 drowning on Lake Tarpon that claimed the life of John Patti, who had attempted to rescue his small dog who fell into the water that day.

Rizkallah's wife, Joanna Patterson, was not surprised that Oliver jumped off of the boat - she said:

Oliver saw his dad in the water and went to him,"

She added:

He died doing what he loved. Doing what he always did, making others happy, with friends, family and Oliver on the water,"

The dog who Rizkallah lost his life trying to save, made it out of the water safely.

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