Originally posted at 8:47 a.m. July 13, 2014. Edited to add photos.
A pair of memorial events will be held today for Newport Beach lifeguard Ben Carlson, who drowned while trying to rescue a swimmer in distress over the Fourth of July weekend.
Carlson, 32, was pronounced dead at 8:15 p.m. July 6 at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, shortly after he was pulled out of the water near 27th Street.
Authorities said Carlson, a 15-year lifeguard veteran, had gone to assist a swimmer in distress in the water near 16th Street, when both were hit by 10-foot waves. The swimmer made it back to the shore.
- Social media users are honoring Ben Carlson with the hashtag #benwouldgo. See early photos in the above Storify box.
Rescue crews searched for Carlson for about 90 minutes before pulling him from the water, officials said.
He is the first Newport Beach lifeguard to die in the line of duty in the service's 100-year history.
At 9 a.m., a memorial paddle-out will be held on the east side of the Newport Beach Pier. Wahoo's Fish Tacos will provide food for participants.
People planning to participate are being asked to arrive by 8 a.m., since parking will be limited. A drop-off zone has been set up on 20th Street between Balboa Boulevard and Court Street.
Officials noted the pier will be closed to all recreational vessels beginning at 8 a.m. until the end of the event.
A "celebration of life" will be held at 6:30 p.m. on the beach at Orange Street in western Newport Beach. Members of the public are being encouraged to wear casual or "aloha" attire to the event, while while public safety personnel will be in dress uniform.
Donations in Carlson's name can be made to a scholarship fund established by the Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards Association. Donations can be made online at www.newportbeachca.gov/bencarlsondonation.
Donations by check, made payable to NBOLA with "Ben Carlson Scholarship Fund" in the memo line, can also be maled to NBOLA, Ben Carlson Scholarship, P.O. Box 1768, Newport Beach, CA, 92658-8915. All donations are tax-deductible.
--City News Service