Statue to honor California lifeguard who died rescuing swimmer

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Two years after a Newport Beach, California lifeguard died while rescuing a swimmer in strong waves, a statue is being unveiled to honor his heroic sacrifice.

Lifeguard Ben Carlson died on July 6, 2014 after heading out to help a swimmer who had been overcome by a big wave. The swimmer was saved after Carlson handed him his buoy, but the 15-year veteran lifeguard was overcome in the turbulent waters.

Now a statue, designed by Carlson's brother-in-law, is being unveiled to honor him.

Previously, the lifeguard headquarters in Newport Beach had already been renamed in his honor and the Ben Carlson Memorial and Scholarship Foundation works to improve water safety and save lives.

"It is truly an honor," said Teri Carlson, the lifeguard's mother. "We are so grateful. The community has been more than amazing."

The 9-feet tall, stainless steel statue is to be unveiled Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Newport Beach pier.