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Father of 7 drowns while pulling his children from heavy surf

Posted: 5:05 AM, Jul 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-18 07:05:13-04
Father drowns saving children

NORTH CAROLINA — (WRAL) A North Carolina man died while trying to rescue his children in the water off Wrightsville Beach Sunday.

Eyewitnesses told officials that 35-year-old Johnny Lee Vann Jr. ran into the water when he saw his children in distress.

All of his kids made it to shore safely, but when Vann reached his daughter, he reportedly told someone he couldn’t breathe.

Rescuers later pulled Vann from the water, and were unable to resuscitate him.

"He put his family first,” said Vann’s wife, Dawn. "He was the best man you could ever imagine to ever have in your life."

National Weather Service analysis shows 26 percent of recent reported rip current deaths were bystanders and Good Samaritans who attempted to make rescues.

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