ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A trip to the beach ended in tragedy for a family in Atlantic City.

Police said the father died while saving his 11-year-old son from drowning.

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It happened shortly after 9:30 a.m. Monday at a beach off New Jersey Avenue.

The boy made it back to shore, but a former police officer saw the dad struggling in the water. He grabbed his boogie board and tried to help.

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“I saw something floating and I said to myself, ‘please, let that be a log or something,’” he said. “It was just very traumatic to see that it was the back of him.”

First responders performed CPR, but the father died at the hospital.

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Atlantic City Beach Patrol was off-duty at the time.