TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 44-year-old dad died on Wednesday after trying to save his son caught in a rip current at Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts.
Gary Simard, the father of four, was at the beach with his family when his son started yelling out for help when got caught in a riptide that pulled him away from shore.
Simard immediately jumped in the water to rescue his son. But after being stuck in the dangerous water for over 20 minutes and pulled 100 yards away from shore, he drowned.
Two bystanders were able to save his son and bring him ashore.
One of the bystanders called 911 when they realized the extent of the emergency.
The other bystander told NBC affiliate WBTS that the waves were between four and six feet high. When they had swum to the kid, he said the dad was also yelling “Help.”
He added that the kid grabbed one of their hands and started swimming, as his dad was still struggling. “It was just like survival mode.”
Following Hurricane Lee’s aggressive currents, one of the bystanders said, “I don’t think anyone belongs in the water.”
Emergency personnel gave the dad CPR after he was rescued. Unfortunately, as he was being rushed to a nearby emergency room, he was pronounced dead.
Simard grew up with his own family going to Salisbury Beach. His family sadi he lived life for his children and would take them to the beach to carry on the tradition.
Simard’s mom described him as “the best father ever.” She added, “My son is a hero. He saved his son and he lost his life for that, but he is my hero.”