Lifeguard drowns during rescue off South California
July 07, 2014 12:30 PM | 999 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This undated photo provided by the Newport Beach Police Department shows Ben Carlson, 32, a Newport Beach lifeguard who drowned while trying to rescue a swimmer off the Southern California beach on Sunday, July 6, 2014. Carlson was pulled from the water by fellow lifeguards following a frantic, three-hour search. The 15-year department veteran went into the water to help a swimmer struggling in the water when they were hit by a large wave. (AP Photo/Newport Beach Police Department)
This undated photo provided by the Newport Beach Police Department shows Ben Carlson, 32, a Newport Beach lifeguard who drowned while trying to rescue a swimmer off the Southern California beach on Sunday, July 6, 2014. Carlson was pulled from the water by fellow lifeguards following a frantic, three-hour search. The 15-year department veteran went into the water to help a swimmer struggling in the water when they were hit by a large wave. (AP Photo/Newport Beach Police Department)
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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A lifeguard drowned while trying to rescue a swimmer off a Southern California beach, authorities said.

Ben Carlson, 32, was pulled from the water around 8 p.m. Sunday by fellow lifeguards following a frantic, three-hour search, Newport Beach Fire Department Chief Scott Poster said.

Poster said the 15-year department veteran went into the water to help a struggling swimmer when they were hit by a large wave. Carlson went under water, and the swimmer made it to shore safely. Poster said searchers were hampered by up to 12-foot swells.

"It was just an utter tragedy to lose a man of that caliber in the water today," the chief said, noting that it was the first time a city lifeguard died in the line of duty.

"Ben was a well-respected individual, always a nice guy, always was there to help somebody," Poster said. "He'd give his shirt off his back at anytime."

The National Weather Service had issued a warning Sunday of dangerous rip currents and high surf along Southern California beaches. The weather service said some beaches saw up to 8-feet high surf.

Los Angeles County firefighters rescued a 25-year-old man who was caught in the waves off Rancho Palos Verdes and high tide breached a sand berm in Long Beach.

The lifeguard's death came a day after a 50-year-old long-distance swimmer and former lifeguard was bitten by a shark off Manhattan Beach.

Authorities and witnesses said the 7-foot-long juvenile had been trying to free itself from a fisherman's hook when it lunged at Steven Robles' chest.

The beaches remained open, but police prohibited fishing from the Manhattan Beach pier where the fisherman hooked the shark until Tuesday.



Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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