(Meredith) -- A pilot died a hero after helping to save two children from drowning in the Gulf of Mexico.
Michael Robidoux and his wife, Laura, were visiting the Navarre Beach in Florida's Panhandle, when they spotted the children struggling to swim on Saturday. Robidoux jumped in the water to rescue them and got caught in the rough surf, according to authorities.
Two nearby surfers helped pull the children to safety as a rescue team from the sheriff’s office tried to save Robidoux. Navarre deputies attempted CPR and eventually airlifted him to the hospital, where he later died.
Robidoux’s wife told WEAR-TV he was an was an Eagle Scout, a retired military pilot and a 23-year veteran in the Air Force. Most recently, he was a pilot for Delta Airlines. Friends and neighbors said he paid the ultimate sacrifice.
"We lost a great military hero, a local hero and he wouldn't have it any other way,” said close friend Dan Wood. "He died like he lived, serving people. He gave his life to save someone else’s."
Information from the Associated Press and WEAR-TV contributed to this story.
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