ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — A father from has died after police say he jumped into the ocean to save his 11-year-old son from drowning. The incident happened shortly after 9:30 a.m. at the New Jersey Avenue beach in Atlantic City on Monday.
Authorities identified the man as 59-year-old Thanh Bui, of Reading, who was on vacation with his family.
Police say his boy got caught in the current and was having a hard time making it back to shore when his father entered the water to save him.
According to police, former New York police officer Jim Glorioso Jr. grabbed a boogie board from a woman and entered the ocean to rescue the man.
“I wish I could have done more,” Glorioso said.
Glorioso knows that he did all that he could, but time wasn’t on his side Monday morning.
“At first I was going to try to swim out there, but I knew that I couldn’t because it was really far out,” Glorioso said, “and the lady was like, ‘I have a boogie board,’ and I said give it to me.”
Glorioso found Bui after he had gone underwater.
“The adrenaline got to me and I was just thinking about trying to find him,” Glorioso said. “I saw him floating and I said to myself, ‘please let that be a log or something.’ It was very traumatic to see that it was the back of him.”
As Glorioso, who was a police officer for 13 years in upstate New York, paddled out, the boy made it back to the beach, but his father was unconscious and starting to submerge about 100 yards offshore.
“I got him on the boogie board and I tried giving him CPR as best as I could,” Glorioso said, “but it was impossible because of the waves.”
The incident happened before lifeguards went on duty at 10 a.m.
Atlantic City’s beach patrol chief quickly responded, and along with other first responders brought both men back to shore.
They attempted CPR and then rushed the victim to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“It’s terrible. It’s the first time I’ve ever attempted to do a rescue in the water,” Glorioso said. “I feel bad.”
Glorioso wishes there were more signs to warn people not to swim until 10 a.m. and indeed in the area where it happened by the Ocean Resort Casino, there were not any warning sings.
“I think it’s a big failure here at the beach,” Glorioso said.
The 11-year-old boy was also taken to the hospital for treatment, police say.
CBS3’s Cleve Bryan contributed to this report.