Newport Beach lifeguard drowns trying to rescue swimmer

By Kelly Moreno,

A lifeguard drowned while trying to rescue a swimmer in Newport Beach on Sunday, July 6.

The lifeguard was Ben Carlson, who had been a Newport Beach lifeguard for 15 years. He had disappeared under 10-foot waves after going off to rescue a swimmer. Authorities said fire officials confirmed his death during a news conference after colleagues pulled his body out of the water, reported The Los Angeles Times. There had been a three-hour search for Carlson, 32.

Newport Beach Fire Department Chief Scott Poster said the swimmer was able to make it back to the shore safely, and added that this was the first time that a Newport Beach lifeguard died in the line of duty.

"It was just an utter tragedy to lose a man of that caliber in the water today," said Poster. "Ben was a well-respected individual, always a nice guy, always was there to help somebody. He'd give his shirt off his back at anytime."

The Associated Press reported that The National Weather Service had warned the city about dangerous rip currents and high surf along Southern California beaches on Sunday.

Dangerous rip tides since Friday have kept lifeguards busy making rescues.

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