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A Chicago-area newspaper executive died after leaping into turbulent waters at a Florida beach to rescue his sons after they got caught in a rip current, according to reports.
Pete Rosengren, 42, an advertising executive with the Daily Herald newspaper, was vacationing on the Gulf of Mexico with his wife and three sons when tragedy struck on Sunday, the Herald said in a report this week.
“It all happened so fast,” his wife, Maura, told the outlet. “We had only been there a couple of minutes. The kids ran into the water right away.”
The family had driven from their home in Batavia, Illinois, with three other families for a beach getaway at Miramar Beach — with the Rosengrens due to celebrate their 18th anniversary Monday.
The Florida beach was open but with double red flag warnings that the water was off-limits due to turbulence — but the boys ran in nonetheless.
The boys — ages 7, 12, and 14 — and their friends got into trouble right away.
Rosengren, seeing the boys struggling, jumped in to try to save them. He grabbed his sons’ 9-year-old friend, handing him to adults who went out into the water.
Rosengren, and lifeguards who dashed a half-mile to the scene from the nearest tower, were able to pluck all of the children from the dangerous tides.
The lifeguards performed CPR on Rosengren on the beach before he was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said a coroner’s autopsy will determine if he died from drowning or a heart attack.
“That was Pete. Such a hero,” longtime friend Joe Shaker told the Herald. “He gave you everything he could. There isn’t one person who doesn’t have a Pete Rosengren story.”
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