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An off-duty FBI agent drowned Thursday in Puerto Rico trying to save a swimmer, the agency announced Friday.

FBI Special Agent Daniel Knapp was approached by friends of a struggling swimmer and quickly swam out to assist, the FBI said in a statement. He reached the 18-year-old swimmer and was helping him, but was overcome by the waves.

A police boat rescued the swimmer and pulled him to safety.

"Special Agent Knapp exemplified each of the ideals of the FBI, as well as possessing those traits which define a genuine wonderful person," said Joseph Campbell, the head of the FBI's Puerto Rico Field Office. "He died a hero, saving another life."

Knapp was 43 years old and had been in the FBI for six years, according to the agency. He was based in San Juan and received both the 2011 FBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Criminal Investigation and the 2011 Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement.

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