A Twin Cities man on vacation drowned in the Gulf of Mexico trying to rescue a family member and others in rough waters, authorities said Friday.
The body of Dmitriy A. Bondarenko, 39, of Shakopee, was recovered Thursday morning from the Gulf off the coast of Panama City Beach, police said.
The search for Bondarenko began Wednesday and included two Coast Guard patrol boats and a Navy helicopter, according to police.
His father-in-law was among those Bondarenko was trying to bring to safety from the turbulent Gulf waters, said Police Capt. Robert Clarkson. The father-in-law survived.
Bondarenko leaves behind a wife, Nastya, and three children. A funeral for Bondarenko is scheduled for 11 a.m. Aug. 20 at Slavic Baptist Church of Shakopee.
On the day that Bondarenko went into the water and was reported missing, authorities issued a “double red flag warning,” meaning a complete ban on people entering the water, following numerous calls to assist swimmers in trouble.
A 23-year-old man from Louisiana who was pulled from the water on Tuesday died on Thursday, Captain Clark said.
“We’d like people to call [emergency personnel] if you see a swimmer in distress,” Clarkson said. “There are people who might have the skills and abilities” to make a successful rescue, the captain continued, “but if you’re not a certified rescue swimmer, when you have a strong undertow and current, it’s best to let those who have that to do it.”