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Mississippi sheriff’s deputy drowns in Florida after saving 10-year-old son from rip current

Written by on July 26, 2020

A Mississippi sheriff’s deputy died last week after saving his son who was caught in a rip current off a Florida beach, authorities said.

The body of 33-year-old William K. Nichols, director of the Search and Rescue Unit for the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department in northern Mississippi, was pulled from the waters near Sandestin, a popular resort in Walton County’s Miramar Beach, on Wednesday, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office said.

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“His last act of service was rescuing his own son. We have no words to express our devastation. Our hearts go out to his family and our brothers and sisters in Desoto County,” Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson Jr. wrote on Facebook.

Nichols served as Director of Search and Rescue for seven years.

Nichols served as Director of Search and Rescue for seven years. (DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department)

Nichols had jumped into the water to rescue his son who was in distress, police said. His son safely reached the beach, but Nichols was pulled back out into the water.

Walton County Fire Rescue recovered Nichols and performed CPR. The deputy was pronounced dead at Sacred Heart Hospital.

“It still doesn’t seem real to anyone who knew Director Nichols,” the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department wrote on Facebook. “He was one-of-a-kind. Very selfless. Humble. Giving. And the DCSD will not be the same without him.”

Nichols’ body was flown to Mississippi on Friday, the department said. His funeral was held Sunday.

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Nichols is survived by his wife, 18-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.

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