Mark Batista, a 39-year-old NYC firefighter, reportedly died while trying to save his teenage daughter from heavy seas at a New Jersey beach on Friday, June 9.

According to NBC News, he got into the sea at Sylvania Avenue beach in Avon-by-the-Sea at 8:30 a.m. Friday to save his daughter who was struggling to keep up in the tumultuous surf. Unfortunately, the father and daughter were quickly caught in the heavy waves, prompting other visitors to the beach to contact 911, who arrived shortly thereafter.

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The girl had reportedly been saved ten minutes after emergency personnel arrived on the scene. She was taken to a nearby hospital and is already recovering from her trauma. However, investigators were unable to locate the 39-year-old firefighter right away.

Mark Batista, who was discovered at about 10 a.m. around 50 feet from the shoreline, was brought to a hospital and later confirmed dead, according to police. The New York City Fire Department reported on June 11 that Mark Batista died while rescuing his daughter at a New Jersey beach.

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According to NBC New York, the lifeguards were absent from the beach when the event occurred, as they were on vacation till June 17. Following the event, authorities have issued an advisory to swimmers to avoid the water when lifeguards are not on duty.

Who is Mark Batista?

Mark Batista was an NYC Fire Department employee who served for 15 years as a firefighter and EMT. In expressing their condolences for the loss of one of their employees, the department hailed Batista as a ‘committed public servant’. Hundreds of people rushed the social media pages with condolence posts shortly after the FDNY confirmed Batista’s death, mourning the loss of the firefighter who died while saving his daughter. One user commented on Twitter:

“RIP brother. Brave hero who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and save his daughter. I’d do the same for my family. Thoughts and prayers for your family.”

Batista is survived by his wife and daughter.