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Man, 66, drowns after jumping into Gulf off Hernando County to save family dog

A 66-year-old man drowned Wednesday morning after jumping into the Gulf of Mexico in northwest Hernando County to save his dog.

Ted and Minnie Davis of Webster were on their airboat near Zebrafinch Avenue when their dog jumped in and was pulled underwater by a strong current, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said.

Ted Davis jumped in after the dog and was pulled under by the current too, the Sheriff's Office said. Minnie Davis called for help and deputies responded at about 11:30 a.m.

Within about an hour, an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spotted the body of Ted Davis in the water near Bird Island. He was taken to the Bayport Boat Ramp where Hernando County Fire Rescue confirmed his death.

Deputies believe the family dog survived, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Denise Moloney said in an email.

The investigation is continuing.

Contact Paige Fry at pfry@tampabay.com. Follow @paigexfry.

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