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.

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.

“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.

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