GULF SHORES — A drowning vacationer who was pulled from the Gulf of Mexico died Wednesday just three days after an Alabama sheriff's deputy died while trying to save another person, authorities said.

The Baldwin County Sheriff's Office said the person was pulled from the water and sent to a hospital by helicopter ambulance but did not survive.

Mobile television station WKRG-TV reported the swimmer was identified as a 63-year-old Athens man.

The drowning occurred near Gulf Shores on Fort Morgan Peninsula, the same area where Deputy Bill Smith died while rescuing a man on Sunday night. Smith's funeral is scheduled for Saturday at the county coliseum in Robertsdale.

Beach attendant Donte Reed, who had gone into the surf to help others and wound up being saved by Smith, said he owed his life to the officer, who specialized in patrolling the coastal area.

"I'm very grateful for Deputy Smith. without him I wouldn't be here honestly," Reed, 19, told WALA-TV.

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