Good Samaritan speaks after trying to save grandfather who drowned on Madeira Beach

Pinellas County

TAMPA (WFLA) – A 71-year-old man identified as Osman Pehlivanovic drowned Saturday trying to save his 12-year-old grandson on Madeira Beach.

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says a Sergeant and two good Samaritans stepped up to try and save the grandfather. 

Denise McCoy was one of those people who tried to help Pehlivanovic. She was at the beach on Saturday with friends and family, when she heard a young girl screaming in the water for help. 

“It was a different kind of scream than you ever heard. I looked out behind her and there was a gentleman floating face down,” said Denise McCoy. At that point, McCoy said her and a friend went into the water and swam to where the man was located. 

“The water was different yesterday; it was really rough. Even with me standing in the water waist deep, the waves were coming in and hitting over the top of my head. He was pretty far out by the time we got to him,” added McCoy. 

McCoy said they were able to bring the grandfather back to the beach. That is when she and another good Samaritan, who happened to be a nurse, started CPR until the fire department arrived to continue medical help. 

McCoy has worked in healthcare for 34 years and said she would do this again in a heartbeat and not think twice about it. 

“It’s what we do. When you get into the medical field you do it because you love to save or help people. Everyone who helped on that beach yesterday, that’s why they did it,” said McCoy. 

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says the 12-year-old grandson was not injured and the drowning still remains under investigation. 


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