ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A 24-year-old man and his girlfriend's son died after getting swept up in a rip current in Atlantic Beach Tuesday.
Atlantic Beach Police Department said the swimmers died at the hospital after being pulled from the ocean near the Oceanana Pier around 1:45 p.m.
Friends identified the man as Austin "Catfish" Potter.
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"He used his last breath to help somebody else," his sister Samantha told ABC11 on Wednesday.
According to WCTI, Potter got in the water when he saw the boy struggling.
"That was a poor little defenseless kid and he loved him," Samantha said.
She said both families are devastated.
Potter lives near Atlantic Beach but grew up in Johnston County and graduated from North Johnston High School in 2013.
His friend Jesse Mace described him as a "very outgoing person."
"Everybody loved to be around him," he said.
"God really got a good one that's for sure," friend Ivy Malarchik said.
Loved ones call him "Catfish" and say he loved fishing and was a good swimmer.
But Tuesday, that wasn't enough.
"We want you to come here and have fun and have a good time and be safe," Atlantic Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Harvey said.
"Pay attention to the guidelines, the flags," Samantha said. "If you're not sure if it's safe for your to swim, ask. If the water looks too rough don't go in the water."
The family is planning to hold a memorial at the beach.
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