UPDATE: Authorities say a 44-year-old man who attempted to rescue his child at Salisbury Beach was pronounced dead after he was recovered by emergency crews. The latest information can be found here.

Originally posted on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 4:13 p.m.

SALISBURY, MASS. (WHDH) – Two people were transported to the hospital after a rip current at a beach in Salisbury prompted an emergency water rescue Wednesday, witnesses said.

Police said they responded to a report of four people, a father and his children, in distress in the ocean at Salisbury Beach just before 1 p.m. Two bystanders stepped into help and pulled the children from the water.

“There were two gentlemen who were in the rental units nearby that went in the water and got the kids out,” said James Leavitt, a Salisbury police sergeant. “What the kids were telling me they weren’t in too far, but enough to where the bystanders thought they were distressed.”

First responders tended to two people who were seriously injured — the father of the children and the man believed to be in his late 20s who tried to save him.

The fire chief said rescuers reached the father 50 to 75 yards off shore.

A witness said the incident began after a teenager yelled for help in the ocean. The father of the children in the rip current then ran into the water to help his son.

“The little boy was saying to the two men, ‘I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die,’” witness Robin Dinatale said. “The father goes running in, and now he’s with his son, but now he’s screaming, ‘help me, help me.’”

Dinatale, who called 911, said then the two men on the beach ran into help. The Salisbury fire chief released a statement commending the bystanders for helping.

“There were two guys on the beach, really nice guys, and they immediately ran in the water,” Dinatale said.

They were able to get the teenager to land, but one of the rescuers was exhausted and injured.

“He said, ‘I have no breath, I can’t breathe, I’m so exhausted, I can’t move,’ so he was just lying there,” Dinatale said. “They all got out except the father kept drifting way over, yelling, ‘help me, help me.’”

Kate Taylor of North Caroline said it was her boyfriend, 34-year-old Kenny Crosby of Miami, who pulled the 13-year-old boy who was initially in distress.

“Without hesitation, Kenny, my boyfriend, he just ripped off his clothes, took his phone out and ran out there,” she said. “He’s a great, humble guy, but he very much is (a hero).”

Taylor said Kenny was exhausted but was treated and released at the hospital.

The younger children, all aged 10 and younger, waited with officers while they awaited the arrival of their mother, who was not at the beach, said Leavitt.

“The four of them, they’ve been leaning on each other, and they’ve been great, we’ve just been keeping them busy and keeping them occupied until mom got home,” Leavitt said.

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