LONG BEACH, Wash - An attorney from a prominent Cathlamet, Wash., family drowned Tuesday rescuing his son from the waters off Long Beach, north of the Bolstad approach.
Paul Doumit was on an outing at the beach with his 10-year-old son, Joel, and 11-year-old David, the son of Doumit's brother, Washington state Sen. Mark Doumit, when the boys ran into trouble.
Details are unclear, but it appears the boys were either swept out by the waves or encountered a "crab hole," a sudden, unexpected hole in the sand.
When he saw that the boys needed help, Doumit, 46, swam in. He lifted Joel out of the water so he could breathe, then he disappeared from sight.
"It appears he did indeed save his son's life," said Thomas O'Donohue, fire chief of Pacific County District 1.
Joel was pulled to safety by the Pacific County Technical Rescue team, and David reached the shore on his own, according to information provided by Brian Brewbaker, a U.S. Coast Guard petty officer.
A Coast Guard helicopter team spotted Doumit and directed county rescuers to his position in the surf. Once on the beach, Doumit was reportedly unresponsive. He was transported to Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco, Wash., where he was pronounced dead.
His wife Mary was on a trip to town and arrived on scene during the rescue effort.
Doumit was one of 11 siblings, including eight brothers and three sisters. His sister, Margaret Emerick, died of cancer nearly two years ago.
"He was a wonderful man," Mark Doumit said. "He was a very generous, wonderful man. He loved children and loved the outdoors."
The two brothers were partners in a salmon gilnet boat and they had recently returned from a fishing trip in Alaska.
Paul Doumit worked for the Washington state attorney general for seven years before opening up a law firm with offices in Olympia and Cathlamet.
He and his wife had recently married and moved to Puyallup, Wash. Mary is expecting their first child together.
"I don't know anyone who didn't think highly of him," Mark Doumit said. "It's a big loss for the community and his family."