Two men who were trying to save a boy as he struggled in Gulf Coast waters churned up by Hurricane Nate drowned near a condominium development in Alabama, police said Tuesday.
A search for Bradley Murphy, 21, of Elberta, Ala., was suspended Tuesday afternoon after a body washed up on a beach. Fire officials said authorities had yet to positively identify the remains, but no one else was reported missing in the area.
Earlier, the U.S. Coast Guard found the body of Steven Wahler, 47, of Owensboro, Ky., said Capt. Stephen Arnold of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.
Both men went under while trying to save a 12-year-old boy who became distressed in the surf on Monday afternoon, Arnold said.
While authorities didn’t directly blame the deaths on Nate, forecasters said dangerous rip currents generated by the storm were still a problem at the time of the drownings, which happened Monday afternoon on Fort Morgan Peninsula after a storm passed.
“The Gulf is still obviously pretty choppy, and with that kind of wind the currents and the rip tides are pretty strong,” he said.
The boy was playing in the surf when he began yelling for help on the beach near Gulf Shores Plantation Condominiums, Arnold said. Wahler and Murphy both entered the water trying to help, he said, although authorities don’t know of any relationship between the three.
The youth made it back to shore but neither of the would-be rescuers emerged from the water, the Coast Guard said in a statement. A 45-foot Coast Guard boat left Dauphin Island shortly before 6 p.m. and located one body, the statement said.
A Coast Guard boat searched for Murphy with assistance of local agencies, Arnold said.