A beach day for a Massachusetts family took a tragic turn when a father of four lost his life after being caught in a riptide while trying to save his 12-year-old son. Gary Simard, a 44-year-old resident of Methuen, was at Salisbury Beach with his family on Wednesday when his son was trapped in a rip current, a dangerous and fast-moving water channel, according to Essex District Attorney Paul Tucker.
An eyewitness reported that Simard immediately plunged into the water when his son cried out for help. Two other beachgoers also responded to the call for help and were able to rescue the boy. However, Simard was dragged approximately 100 yards away from the shore, as reported by a witness to Boston 25 News.
Kenny Crosby, one of the bystanders who rushed to help, recounted the incident to WBZ-TV. He described how he saw the boy drifting further away and Simard running into the water. Crosby said he felt compelled to help, describing the situation as “survival mode.”
Jason Evan Iarossi, another good Samaritan who assisted in the rescue, told NBC10 Boston about the harrowing experience. He recalled hearing the boy calling for his father and swimming out to help, despite the water being over their heads and the waves reaching heights of 4 to 6 feet.
First responders were able to recover Simard and performed CPR before rushing him to a local hospital. Unfortunately, he was later pronounced dead. Simard’s sister, Kelly, spoke to NBC10 Boston, describing her brother as a hero who sacrificed his life for his son.
Kelly also set up a GoFundMe page to support the family, where she shared more about her brother. She wrote about how Simard dedicated his life to his family, including his partner Alexis and their four children, Gary (13), Matthew (11), Olivia (8), and AJ (6). She expressed her grief over the loss but found solace in knowing that he died protecting his son.