A man who went into rough seas at San Diego's Ocean Beach to rescue his two dogs managed to save the animals at the cost of his own life. Authorities say Gregg Owens, who was visiting the city from Henderson, Nevada, saved the dogs after they were swept away by high surf but was dragged back into the water by another wave on Wednesday afternoon, CBS 8 reports. The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office says Owens was found unresponsive after the surf slammed him into rocks, reports KGTV. He was pronounced dead in the intensive care unit at UC San Diego Medical Center.
Owens, who was in his 50s, had been walking the dogs on the beach with his wife. He was a former first responder who spent 11 years as a paramedic with the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad in Virginia. A high surf advisory was in effect in the area Wednesday and Thursday, with waves up to 12 feet. At Ocean Beach, where a makeshift memorial to Owens went up Thursday, other dog owners say they would have done the same, NBC San Diego reports. "They tell you not to if your dog gets sucked out. They tell you not to go out there but personally I think I'd go for it," says local man Austin Card. (Last month, at least two people died trying to save dogs that had fallen through ice.)