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Dad, 66, killed by flesh-eating bacteria hours after taking dip in sea

A BELOVED dad died within 48 hours after contracting flesh-eating bacteria while he was swimming in the sea.

“I feel like I should have known and that is something I will live with for the rest of my life”


William David Bennett, 66, had travelled to Florida to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with his family when he was struck down by the deadly bacteria. 

The next day, after flying home to Tennessee, William was hospitalised with chills, fever, pain in his legs and a reddish lump on his back. 


Doctors prescribed antibiotics believing it to be a staph infection, but in a few hours, William went septic and died. 

The family later learned William had died from Vibrio vulnificus that thrives in the ever-increasingly warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico. 

It came just days after a 12-year-old girl from Indiana narrowly escaped with her life after becoming infected with a similar flesh-eating bacteria on another Florida beach. 

The Sunshine State has seen an increase in dangerous bacteria in its waters in recent years. 

William’s daughter Cheryl shared the harrowing story on Facebook and warned others to be cautious when entering the sea in Florida. 

Cheryl posted “When my parents got in town I was fanatical about Neosporin and liquid bandaid. 

“My dad didn’t have any open wounds. He had a couple of places that were practically healed, small scratches on his arms and legs that I made sure were super sealed up.”

She added: “My mum religiously sun-blocked him. We were taking precautions and we were good, so I thought. We had a blast.” 

“I would never have taken my dad in the water if there was a bacteria advisory but it would have been because I didn’t want him to get a stomach virus not because I thought it would kill him.

Cheryl continued: “I knew you shouldn’t swim with an open wound but I didn’t realise he shouldn’t be in the water with his immune system. I feel like I should have known and that is something I will live with for the rest of my life.” 

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