Dmitriy A. BondarenkoDmitriy A. Bondarenko died attempting to save Aleks M. Kanishchev from drowning in Panama City, Fla., on Aug. 10, 2016.

Kanishchev, 60, became trapped in a strong current in the Gulf of Mexico that took him away from shore and kept him from returning in the choppy water at a point about 160 feet from shore.

Bondarenko, 39, business operator of Shakopee, Minn., was alerted that Kanishchev needed help. Despite the strong current, Bondarenko, who was on a family vacation and was Kanishchev’s relative, ran to the water, entered the surf and waded and swam toward him.

Another man had reached Kanishchev but a wave separated them, and the man returned to shore. Bondarenko reached a point about 3 feet from Kanishchev and told him to swim. Bondarenko submerged and never resurfaced.

Kanishchev swam out of the rip current and toward shore. Another man entered with a rescue tube and swam to Kanishchev when he reached a point about 50 feet from shore and aided him back to the beach.

Kanishchev was treated at the scene for water inhalation and near-exhaustion, from which he recovered in three days. Bondarenko’s body was recovered in the water the next day. He had drowned.


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