It wouldn’t be the Bay Area without the bay, which is why so many people love it here—for its access to the Pacific. However, that doesn’t mean it’s always fun and carefree on the beaches here. One tragedy that recently occurred on Newport Beach served as a good reminder of what can go wrong.

The tragedy occurred this past Sunday, the 6th. At around 5pm, a swimmer started showing signs of distress while in treacherous waters. It’s been reported that the choppy surf was probably six to eight feet deep where he was struggling. Seeing this from his post, Ben Carlson, a 32-year-old veteran lifeguard, rushed the waves in an attempt to help the man in peril. He had been keeping swimmers safe in Newport Beach for 15 years.

Unfortunately, once he was able to reach the swimmer, a large wave struck both of them. While the swimmer was able to recover and make it back to the beach, it’s the last time anyone would see Carlson alive. Over 25 rescuers took part in the search to find him. It would be roughly three hours before his body would be located. By the time the lifeguard could be transported to a local hospital, though, it was too late.

Although this is the first time in a century that a lifeguard has died while on duty at Newport Beach, that doesn’t mean the area isn’t dangerous. The same day Carlson died, some 200 other rescues were performed and thousands of warnings were issued regarding dangerous rip currents.

While Carlson’s death seems to be nothing more than a tragic accident, it’s still a good reminder of what is possible. If you enjoy the waters that have made the Bay Area so popular, consider becoming familiar with a qualified personal injury lawyer. Whether it’s you or a loved one who is the victim of an accident, they could make all the difference.