Duval County

‘He was just trying to save the kids:’ Ukrainian teen found dead along Atlantic Beach shoreline

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. — Neptune Beach Police confirm Mykailo Myroshnychenko was found dead Wednesday, after trying to save three people in the ocean, according to witnesses.

Mykailo Myroshnychenko referred to as “Michael” by his friends recently moved to Jacksonville. The Ukrainian came here with his three brothers. His parents are still in Norway, according to his friend, Andre Kutsiy.


Kutsiy said, Michael was very active in his faith and just ‘that kind of guy’ who would try to help others. However, Kutsiy admits, Michael wasn’t the strongest swimmer.

Investigators said the 19-year-old was last seen at Lemon Street in Neptune Beach around 8 P.M. Tuesday night. Witnesses said three people, including two children, got caught in a rip current, and Michael was trying to help.

“He was just trying to save the kids because he thought that they were drowning when the waves kept on hitting him,” Nishell Hickson said.

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A Neptune Beach police officer found a body close to shore near 19th Street in Atlantic Beach, Wednesday morning. Police confirmed the person found was Myroshnychenko, Thursday.

This is the second local drowning since Memorial Day Weekend.

“We are seeing a huge influx of non-swimmers, or moderate to no swimming capability of swimmers, going into the water and then going into distress,” Lt. Max Ervanian with Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue said. “We really have to stress heavily to all bathers and beachgoers that whenever they see somebody in distress in the water is to remain calm, call 911, and keep your eyes on the swimmers.”

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For alerts about rip current risks and beach conditions, you can download our free first alert weather app (LINK) and get alerts from JaxReady, the City’s emergency preparedness site.

“To his mom and family that’s suffering, we’re sorry for your loss,” Nikisha Jackson said.

If you’d like to read more about Myroshnychenko and see how you can help his family, a friend has set up a GoFundMe page with more information.

Action News Jax’s Meghan Moriarty will be talking with Michael’s family. You can watch that conversation Friday on CBS47 and FOX30 Action News Jax at 5.

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