A father died in waters off a New Jersey shore on Monday while trying to save his young son from drowning, police said.
The man died at a beach in Atlantic City on Monday morning after entering the water to save his 11-year-old son, who was struggling to stay afloat, according to the Atlantic City Police Department.
Rescue workers responded to the scene at around 9:30 a.m. after getting a call about a child drowning, according to the department. Lifeguards were not on duty at the time.
Jim Glorioso, a former police officer from Amsterdam, New York, told police the child managed to make it back to shore, but he noticed that the father had gone under water. That's when Glorioso jumped in with another beachgoer's boogie board and tried to pull him out, according to police.
"The son was able to make it back to shore, but the father was going further out," Glorioso, who was on vacation with his family at the time, told ABC News on Monday. "Instinct took over. I dropped all my stuff and I began to swim out as fast as I could."
"Unfortunately, when I got there ... I was hoping it was a log because he was floating. I pulled him up on the boogie board and tried to give him CPR, but with the waves and a small boogie board it was almost impossible to do so," he added.
He said they were at least 50 yards away from the shoreline and the currents made it hard to move forward.
"I turned around and noticed how far out we were and I that's when I knew I was in trouble too. For every five feet I was going forward, it felt like I was going back 10 feet," he said. "There were lifeguards who were just about to come on duty and they jumped in. I think if it wasn't for them I probably would be dead too. It was pretty horrific."
First responders arrived on the scene and pulled both men back to shore. Firefighters performed CPR on the father before bringing him to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The child was also transported to the hospital for treatment, but the department did not offer details on his condition. Police have not released the man's name, but local news outlets identified him as a 59-year-old resident of Reading, Pennsylvania.
Glorioso said he wasn't injured, but the trauma of the moment still stings.
"When I finally got to shore, I saw his family -- his wife and three or four kids -- sitting there, crying hysterically," Glorioso said. "His whole family saw him pass away."
Glorioso said he was reluctant to come forward about his experience, but he wants to bring awareness to the city's apparent "lifeguard issue." He said the city should post more signs to let swimmers know when lifeguards are on duty and schedule them for earlier shifts.
"Before every level going down to the walkway toward the beach, there should be a big sign saying there's no lifeguard on duty," Glorioso said. "I can guarantee you that if there was a lifeguard on duty at the time, that guy would have been saved."
ABC News' Ben Stein contributed to this report.