Father dies trying to save kids swept away by wave at North Carolina beach

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Johnny Lee Vann Jr. (WTVD) Johnny Lee Vann Jr. (WTVD)

A North Carolina father died while trying to rescue his children from rough waters at the state's Wrightsville Beach, according to police.

Two of Johnny Lee Vann Jr.'s kids were walking on a jetty wall on Sunday afternoon when they were swept off by a wave, Capt. Jason Bishop of the Wrightsville Beach Police Department told ABC News.

Vann was able to rescue one of the kids, but when he went back into the ocean for the other child, he couldn't stay above the water, Bishop said.

Vann was underwater for about 30 seconds before he and the other child were rescued, witnesses said, according to Bishop.

CPR was performed, but Vann, 35, of Durham, could not be resuscitated, Wrightsville Beach town officials said in a statement on Monday.

Vann's wife, Dawn Vann, told ABC Wilmington affiliate WWAY, "You couldn't ask for a better person."

"You could have took anybody else," she said. "I would've preferred to take me than him."

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