Father drowns at Huguenot Memorial Park after attempting to save his children

Police say a local father died while trying to save his children.

Action News Jax received an update from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office that that the man drowned and that Jacksonville Fire Rescue recovered a body that fits his description Monday morning.

Joey Smith is from Jacksonville Beach and has been an avid surfer for 40 years. On his way to catch the waves at Huguenot Memorial Park he learned that swimmer lost his life.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry I actually saved someone before and I wish I was out there to help him out,” Smith said.

JSO said that JRFD’s beach patrol located a body that matched the description of the man who disappeared on Sunday.

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Police say he was out at the beach with his 4-year-old and 9-year-old kids when they got caught in the strong current and he tried to save them.

“A bunch of witnesses created a human chain and were able to rescue the two young kids but were unable to rescue our victim,” said Sergeant Bawroski, with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

We saw several crews with JFRD heading inside the park Monday morning, followed by officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Police said the search effort involved JFRD, Florida Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Our Action News Jax First Alert Weather team reported high risk for rip currents on Sunday and Monday and Smith said if you find yourself caught in one, don’t panic.

“Just relax. If you can remember to float on your back. The rip current will take you out but you can swim parallel to the beach once you’re out,” Smith said.

The red flag warning was also outside Huguenot Memorial Park on Monday warning beach-goers that it may not be a good idea to be in the water especially if you’re not a strong swimmer.

A GoFundMe has been created for those who feel inclined to support his family.