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  1. Florida Politics

St. Pete grandfather drowns while rescuing grandson from high surf off Madeira Beach, deputies say

MADEIRA BEACH — Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies are investigating the death of a 71-year-old man who drowned Saturday afternoon while swimming with his grandson off Madeira Beach.

Deputies were called to the Madeira Beach Access County Park, 14400 Gulf Boulevard, shortly after 12:30 p.m. after receiving a report of people yelling for help, the Sheriff's office said.

When deputies got there, they saw several beachgoers carrying Osman Pehlivanovic, of St. Petersburg, out of the water. Witnesses said Pehlivanovic was paddling through high surf in an attempt to help his 12-year-old grandson back to shore when he became unresponsive and sank into the water, the Sheriff's office said.

Once he was pulled to shore, Sheriff's Sgt. Greg Horton, 39, performed CPR on Pehlivanovic alongside two "good Samaritans" — Denise McCoy, 53, and Soraya Savage, 36 — until the Madeira Beach Fire Department arrived to assume medical care.

Others at the scene helped rescue his grandson from the surf. He was uninjured.

Pehlivanovic was taken to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Deputies are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the grandfather's death, but said Saturday evening that his drowning does not appear to be suspicious.

Contact Anastasia Dawson at or (813) 226-3377. Follow @adawsonwrites.