A North Carolina man was killed in a freak accident while playing with three of his six children on an Oak Island beach. Relatives say a powerful wave Thursday broke 37-year-old Lee Dingle's neck and caused his throat to swell so much that his brain was deprived of oxygen, WRAL reports. "An intense wave hit him just right to slam his head into the sand and break his neck," wife Shannon Dingle tweeted. "Some heroes—including our kids—tried to save him, but it wouldn’t have mattered what they did. His body couldn’t recover from the initial injury." Oak Island Water Rescue says rescuers arrived at the scene and "provided paramedic level care within minutes." "I wasn’t supposed to be saying goodbye at 37," Shannon Dingle said. "I don’t know how to be a grown up without him, but I’ll learn. I just wish I didn’t have to."
Dingle had just been promoted to president of Atlas Engineering, a company that deals with structural problems in buildings. He was also a collapse rescue engineer with North Carolina Emergency Management and was on a rescue squad that saved people from collapsed or damaged buildings. "He was a dream employee and coworker, a good friend, a loving, dedicated father, and a wonderfully kind person," Atlas chief engineer Chris Couto tells WMUR. "He was brave, calm, and reassuring; he was somebody one would want around when conditions were dangerous or chaotic. He will be greatly missed." USA Today reports that four of the couple's six children were adopted, including a little girl from Taiwan with cerebral palsy. A GoFundMe fundraiser for the family has raised more than $130,000. (Read more North Carolina stories.)