Thousands of people attended a pair of services in Newport Beach today for lifeguard Ben Carlson, who drowned while trying to rescue a swimmer in distress over the Fourth of July weekend.
A paddle-out memorial was held in the water near the Newport Beach pier just after dawn and a celebration of Carlson's life took place tonight on the beach at Orange Street in western Newport Beach
Carlson, 32, a 15-year Newport Beach lifeguard veteran and a resident of the beach community, was pronounced dead at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian last Sunday, shortly after he was pulled out of the water near 27th Street.
The lifeguard and a swimmer who had gotten into trouble in the area of 16th Street were hit by 10-foot waves, Newport Beach Fire Chief Scott Poster said. The swimmer made it back safely, according to the chief.
It was the first time in 100 years that Newport Beach lost a lifeguard in the line of duty, Poster said.
--City News Service