Family grieves after Concord father drowns at Sunset Beach

CONCORD, N.C. — A Concord man drowned Saturday at Sunset Beach after he was swept into the ocean by a rip current.

Roger Barnhouse and his wife have two sons.

“He was a very funny guy,” Roger's wife, Christina Barnhouse, told Channel 9.

[3 more drownings reported at NC beaches brings total to 11 since April]

“It was very surreal for me,” Christina Barnhouse said. “I didn’t realize this was happening.”

The couple's youngest son, who is 8 years old, went too far into the water.

Roger, a U.S. Navy veteran who knew how to swim, went in behind him and got caught in the rip current.

A surfer already in the water rescued their son. Another surfer tried to rescue Roger Barnhouse but was unable to do so.

“Maybe 10 minutes later, one of the police officers pulled me aside and said, ‘I'm sorry. Your husband's heart stopped beating,’” Christina Barnhouse said. “And at that moment, it was surreal. I couldn't believe it.”

Their family moved from Ohio to the area less than a year ago because of her husband’s new job.

She thanked first responders at Sunset Beach who treated her children like family.

“They really tried to get their thoughts off the fact that they just lost their father,” Christina said. “They did that very well, and I can’t thank them enough.”

Friends have set up a fundraising page to help the family with expenses. They've raised more than $25,000 in three days.

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