2 drown on Alabama coast trying to save child

Bradley Murphy (Courtesy: WKRG)

GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) — 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.

The U.S. Coast Guard found the body of Steven Wahler, 47, of Owensboro, Kentucky, said Capt. Stephen Arnold of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.

The search continued for Bradley Murphy, 21, of Elberta, Alabama, 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.

A 12-year-old boy playing in the surf 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 was searching for Murphy with assistance of local agencies, Arnold said. The search could be expanded eastward or westward of the original scene because of currents, he said.