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Lifeguard drowns during rescue

on July 07, 2014 10:20 AM

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. local time 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 Sunday 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.

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