Ben Carlson, Fallen Newport Beach Lifeguard, Remembered with Memorial Services and Fund

Categories: Wax On, Wax Off

See the update on page 2 with details on a memorial fund and services for Ben Carlson as well as more about the fallen lifeguard.

Ben-Carlson_City-of-Newport-Beach.jpg
City of Newport Beach
Ben Carlson presumably drowned while saving a swimmer near 16th Street.

ORIGINAL POST, JULY 7, 8:26 A.M.: A 15-year veteran of the Newport Beach Lifeguards last evening became the first city lifeguard to die in the line of duty.

That same morning, at the dog beach at the Santa Ana River mouth, I'd wondered, with the large waves crashing into shore, why so many surfboards (and surfers) remained on the beach. Turns out there were dangerous rip-current conditions along the coast, more of which is forecasted for today.

Carlson noticed a swimmer in distress in 6- to 8-foot surf and, as he is trained to do, dove in shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday. The 32-year-old lifeguard made contact with the unidentified man just as a large wave hit both. The swimmer was successfully pulled from the ocean and made a full recovery, but Carlson momentarily disappeared.

"The other lifeguard personnel at the scene attempted to rescue and assist Ben, but--due to the turbulent water conditions--they were unable to do so," says Jennifer Manzella, the Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman, in a statement.

"Members of the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol, Laguna Beach Lifeguards, State Parks personnel, and the Newport Beach Police Department helicopter joined Lifeguard and Fire staff in the search for Ben. In all, 25 individuals conducted a search in the water, supported by 30 others on shore (including City Manager Dave Kiff) and air support."

Carlson was eventually located around 8 p.m. and rushed by Newport Beach paramedics to Hoag Hospital, where he died. Cause of death is presumed to be drowning, but the county coroner is conducting an autopsy to make that official.

City officials say Carlson is the first lifeguard to die in the line of duty in the history of Newport Beach Lifeguards. His chief told reporters this morning Carlson will be afforded all the honors of someone who belongs to that storied "brotherhood."


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52 comments
Brainwashed_in_church
Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

Very disturbing. I'm guessing either heart attack or he was tossed down and broke his neck or hit his head and lost consciousness.

Soto Claudine
Soto Claudine

VERY SAD SITUATION, MAY HE REST N PEACE, MY CONDOLENCES TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS, PRAYERS TO ALL THEM IN THIS TIME OF NEED...0; (

Sheri Dickman-Test
Sheri Dickman-Test

Prayers for his family and Newport Beach community.... May God be with you all to comfort you in this difficult time.

gary.cone
gary.cone

A fine human being in love with the ocean. To have known the power and beauty of one of God's greatest creations is a gift.


It is fitting of his upbringing and his beautiful family that this tragedy happened as an act of selflessness.

Laura Grayson
Laura Grayson

:( sad... I think about how these Guards risk their lives for sometimes stupid people that dont pay attention to signs or rules... Ive seen people ignore warnings or they just do things beyond their capabilities--- then put the guards at risk... I dont know if this is the case -- I sure hope not. I feel SO much for his family... I have a son the same age.

René Bruce
René Bruce

I saw the EMT trucks blasting down Newport Blvd Bridge while I was SUPING the harbor, such a sad story, I'm wondering if maybe he had some sort of heart attack ( a pal of mine just passed from one and he was just 41) as it seams odd that he would drown unless he didn't have fins on, I'm guessing he did.. RIP !!!

SomeoneFindTheCat
SomeoneFindTheCat

How horrible. Condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Sean Ramos
Sean Ramos

Why does this article's title sound like we're supposed to be proud that he's the first Lifeguard to die in Newport or that this is something that we should celebrate?

Patrick Derry
Patrick Derry

Very sorry to hear this. Thoughts and prayers to his family. The waves and currents were abnormally strong yesterday.

Marc Morin-Lebel
Marc Morin-Lebel

Prayers & condolences to his family. This Coastie salutes you.

Maria Gonzalez
Maria Gonzalez

Horrible story. We were there during this and it was scary. Praying for his family

Ray Kepper
Ray Kepper

Sad! Thoughts & prayers go out to the family!

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

The human race just lost one of our "good guys". :-(

RIP, Ben.

downtownbrown
downtownbrown

Thank you Mr Carlson for your sacrifice.  Condolences to his loved ones, family and friends.

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