On Family Vacation, Dad of 3 Tragically Dies After Saving Kids from Rip Current in Florida

On Family Vacation, Dad of 3 Tragically Dies After Saving Kids from Rip Current in Florida

A family from Batavia, Illinois is mourning the loss of their father after he saved the lives of his sons and other children from the grips of a dangerous rip current. Pete Rosengren, the vice president of sales and digital strategies for the Daily Herald Media Group, died Sunday following the tragic incident in Florida.

The 42-year-old father of three had been vacationing and visiting Miramar Beach, an island community in Florida’s Gulf Coast.

After Saving His Sons and Other Children Who Were Caught in a Rip Current, Pete Rosengren Died Sunday.

Media Exec. Dad of 3 Tragically Dies After Saving Kids from Rip Current in Florida
Maura and Pete Rosengren and their sons Charlie, 12, Grant. 7, and Gavin, 14 / Daily Herald

Pete Rosengren was vacationing in Florida with his wife Maura, their sons Gavin, 14, Charlie, 12, and Grant, 7, and three other families, the Daily Herald reported.

“Pete was always there for others — employees, peers, family and friends. That was his DNA,” Scott Stone, president and COO of Daily Herald Media Group, said in a statement. “Pete had an oversized personality, quick wit, humor and unique compassion for others. It’s no surprise his final minute was spent helping others.”

Media Exec. Dad of 3 Tragically Dies After Saving Kids from Rip Current in Florida
Daily Herald

Maura explained to the Herald that her family had driven from their home in Batavia to Florida and expected to spend the week soaking up the sun together.

On Sunday, the families headed to Miramar Beach, a resort community in Florida. Though the beach was open to the public, the ocean was marked with a double red flag warning, which indicates dangerous conditions and is meant to deter people from entering the water. Officials had warned of the rip current, but the children did not heed it.

Media Exec. Dad of 3 Tragically Dies After Saving Kids from Rip Current in Florida
Daily Herald

“We had only had been there a couple [of] minutes. The kids ran into the water right away,” Maura shared with the Daily Herald.

It wasn’t long before things took a dangerous turn and her sons, along with the other kids, found themselves caught in a rip current.

“It all happened so fast. I ran toward the water,” Maura told the outlet.

Media Exec. Dad of 3 Tragically Dies After Saving Kids from Rip Current in Florida
Daily Herald

According to Maura, her sons were able to help themselves from the water to safety. However, Pete noticed a 9-year-old boy struggling to free himself from the riptide. Noticing the boy’s distress, Pete launched into action to save him.

“We could see one little boy couldn’t get in and … [Pete] went out there,” Maura said.

Media Exec. Dad of 3 Tragically Dies After Saving Kids from Rip Current in Florida
Shutterstock

Pete was able to swim to the child and pass him off to other adults, but sadly, was unable to save himself. He was later brought to shore where first responders performed CPR and transported him to a hospital, the Herald reports.

As the responders performed CPR, two lifeguards on the scene were able to rescue two other boys who were also trapped in the water.

Media Exec. Dad of 3 Tragically Dies After Saving Kids from Rip Current in Florida
Shutterstock

Pete’s cause of death still remains unclear. The medical examiner is currently working to determine a cause, which could be drowning or possibly a cardiac issue.

Prior to this tragic incident, Pete worked at Herald Media Group for nearly two decades. Colleagues at the outlet expressed their heartbreak and said that it was no surprise to learn that the dad would risk his life for others.

Media Exec. Dad of 3 Tragically Dies After Saving Kids from Rip Current in Florida
Shutterstock

“That was Pete. Such a hero. He gave you everything he could,” said Joe Shaker, who was friends with Pete and did business with the Herald. “There isn’t one person who doesn’t have a Pete Rosengren story. He made you feel special. He lived as we all should live.”

As colleagues, friends, and loved ones continue to mourn the loss of Pete, Maura is doing her very best to adjust to her new normal. On Monday, what would’ve been their 18th wedding anniversary, Maura spent the day trying to figure out how to get her husband’s body home to Illinois to plan his funeral.

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Media Exec. Dad of 3 Tragically Dies After Saving Kids from Rip Current in Florida
GoFundMe

“I feel this sense of gratitude that Pete worked from home last year,” she said of their time together amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He loved his wife so dearly,” Shaker told WMAQ. “Any time he could get a chance to brag about her, he would, and he would smile from ear to ear. The world needs more Petes.”

If you were moved by this courageous dad’s story, the family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of his funeral. They are currently just shy of their $75,000 goal and any assistance would surely be appreciated during this difficult time.

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