BEN CARLSON

BEN CARLSON

Newport Beach Fire Department Lifeguard, Ben Carlson, 32, drowned July 6th while attempting to rescue a swimmer in the waters off Newport Beach.

The incident began shortly after 5 p.m., when a rescue boat identified a swimmer in distress near 16th street.

After Carlson entered the water and reached the man, both were struck by a large wave, the Fire Department said.

Other lifeguards at the scene attempted to assist Carlson, but were unable to immediately find him because of the turbulent water, and up to 10- to 12-foot surf.

Twenty-five swimmers from multiple local agencies ultimately entered the water to help find Carlson after he went missing, officials said. He was located at 8 p.m. and rushed to paramedics who were waiting on the Newport Pier, then transported to nearby Hoag Hospital.

The lifeguard was pronounced dead at the hospital. The swimmer, whom Carlson was attempting to assist, survived.

Newport Beach officials said 75 to 80 lifeguards on duty made more than 200 rescues Sunday. Thousands more were issued warnings about the strong rip currents.

Carlson was a 15 year veteran lifeguard and the first to die in the line of duty in Newport Beach, according to the Fire Chief.


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