For the first time in 100 years, a Newport Beach lifeguard passed away in the line of duty on Sunday. 32-year-old Ben Carlson served as a lifeguard in California for 15 years. He passed away tragically over the weekend while attempting to help a struggling swimmer in heavy surf conditions.
The ocean can be powerful, mysterious and unforgiving. On Sunday, it was all of those things.
200 rescues were reported the same day due to the big surf. Reports claim that both Ben and the swimmer went under a massive wave together during the rescue attempt, but only the swimmer came back to the surface.
His body was found near the pier at sunset, pronounced dead at Hoag Hospital at 8:15 PM.
With waves reaching up to 8 ft at times and lifeguards reporting over 200 rescues on that day, the ocean was surely rougher than usual. However, Ben’s death marks the first time in the past 100 years that a Newport Beach lifeguard fell victim to the surf.
Ben was a well-known and beloved member of the Newport community. There will be two memorial services this Sunday to celebrate Ben Carlson’s life. At 9:00am there will be a memorial paddle out at the Newport Beach Pier, followed by an evening service at 6:30pm.
A paddle out was held at the Newport Beach pier in honor of Carlson’s life on Sunday July 13th: