Society

Dad Dies After Saving Daughter From Drowning (Photo)

| by Alex Scarr

A Kentucky man drowned in the Gulf of Mexico April 3 after he tried to save his daughter after she was taken under by the current.

Kevin Chitwood, 50, was killed trying to save his daughter and her friend, both of whom had been taken under by a strong riptide, according to AL.com.

Chitwood and his family were on a family vacation in the town of Fort Morgan, Alabama, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Authorities say Chitwood was swept away by the current and was taken to a local hospital around 7 p.m. that evening. He died the next afternoon.

"The surf was very rough out there," local county coroner Stan Vinson told WHAS. “His daughter was saved, but unfortunately, he didn’t make it."

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Family and friends took to Facebook expressing their condolences -- especially the Louisville Turner Circus, of which Chitwood was a member.

"Turners has been blessed to know and love Kevin Chitwood," read a post on the club's Facebook page. "He was a loving husband, father, and a friend. His tragic passing took a true gem from all of us."

"Kevin was an amazing person to know, and one who made me feel so welcomed as a part of our turners community," commented a community patron. "His devotion to his family and this circus were both so inspiring to me. His spirit and effect on all who knew him is evident in the outpour of love we've seen today."

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Spring break vacationers are often at a higher risk for accidental deaths, the most likely culprits being alcohol and traffic accidents. According to TIME, traffic deaths rose 9.1 percent across 14 popular spring break destinations in 2014, with the highest number of incidents occurring among those under 25 years old and traveling out of state.

The researchers also noted that during the same time frame, there was no spike in accidents outside of the popular destinations, therefore determining the rise is attributable to the holiday itself.

One of the most common destinations for spring breakers used to be Panama Beach, Florida, which drew as many as 450,000 visitors in 2001, according to United Press International via Alcohol Policy MD. But in 2016, the city imposed a beach drinking ban for the month of March, prohibiting alcohol consumption on the beach in an effort to clamp down on the excessive tourism-related crime that had occurred, according to AL.com.

"Honestly, Spring Break is no more," Panama City native Shekinah Washington told AL.com. "There's no more Spring Break in Panama City, so I would suggest no one come."

Sources: AL.com (2), TIME, WHAS, Alcohol Policy MD, Louisville Turners Circus​/Facebook / Photo credit: Melissa Johnson/Flickr, Louisville Turner Circus

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