Indiana man drowns during swim in Gulf of Mexico

NORTH REDINGTON BEACH — Authorities say an Indiana man apparently drowned while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico near St. Petersburg.

Pinellas County Sheriff's officials say 56-year-old Kenton Parker and 21-year-old Gary Ford swam from the beach to a buoy Sunday afternoon.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the men started having a difficult time staying above water. Parker grabbed onto the buoy while Ford swam back to shore for help.

A Seminole Fire Department crew found Parker unresponsive in the water. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 4:30 p.m.

Officials say Parker was from Kokomo, Ind., and Ford is from Indianapolis. Parker and his family have vacationed in the Tampa area for the past 15 years.

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