Hero Dad Drowns Trying to Save Daughter From Waves

Sixth victim at Rockaway beaches this summer

By Jennifer Millman
|  Saturday, Aug 15, 2009  |  Updated 2:45 PM EDT
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Hero Dad Drowns Trying to Save Daughter From Waves

Olivares became the sixth life claimed by the waves off Rockaway Beach this summer.

A Queens man died trying to help his young daughter get out of the water at a Rockaway beach, making him the sixth victim claimed by strong currents this summer.

Jose-Luis Olivares dove into the water at Jacob Riis Park Thursday to pull his struggling 10-year-old child to safety. She somehow managed to get back to shore.

Police found Olivares unconscious on the beach; a Good Samaritan pulled him from the water about an hours after the lifeguards went off duty.

The 36-year-old was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital – a victim of the waves.

Still reeling from the shock of the beloved father's death, friends and family say they're not surprised Olivares risked – and ultimately, sacrificed – his life to save his little girl.

"You saw what he did for her, right? That's how much he loved her," said Olivares' nephew Javier Hernandez, reports the Daily News.

A friend praised Olivares as "the best parent you could ask for" and says he and his daughter were always together.

The victim's brother, Javier, told the News he jumped into the water after his daughter and wife of 15 years. Olivares also has a 2-year-old son.

"He was a hero. ... He was a good guy. He was a really good brother. We're feeling really bad," Javier Olivares told the News. "He loved his daughter. She's devastated."
    
Police are still investigating what happened. No foul play is suspected.
    
It has been a deadly summer at the city's Rockaway beaches. The strong currents off the seaside community in Queens have claimed half a dozen lives this summer.

On Wednesday a 40-year-old man disappeared while swimming in the same area; his body has yet to be found. Earlier this month, a 21-year-old man drowned in a rip current.

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