MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. - A 65-year-old man who police said ran into the ocean to save a drowning man at Spessard Holland Park in Melbourne Beach on Saturday night died after suffering cardiac arrest, according to county officials.
"It was a rescuer becoming the victim," said Eisen Witcher, chief of Brevard County Ocean Rescue.
Delbert Blare was taken to Health First's Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne for treatment after beachgoers pulled him from the ocean. Officials said Blare was fighting rip currents in the water.
Blare "just took off" into the water when he heard a man calling for help, said Wilma Krank, a close friend.
Krank, a member of Blare's church, said Blare and his wife were at the beach on Saturday, but not in the water because of the rough surf.
That's when he heard the man calling for help.
Krank said Blare's wife is legally blind, and Blare asked her if he should go help.
"She told him, 'If you think you can help, you should,'" Krank said.
The man Blare rescued was able to exit the water uninjured. Officials said he refused hospital transport.
Krank said Blare is an employee at Walmart. He attended church at Cornerstone Church of God in Melbourne.
A GoFundMe account has been created to help pay for Blare's funeral expenses.
Copyright 2017 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.