A man who fell overboard from a gay cruise yacht was shot dead when he fought the police officers who had rescued him.

Steven Paul Hirschfield, 37, of Los Angeles had been at a yacht party, part of last weekend’s San Diego Pride celebrations, when he fell off the 222-ft vessel into San Diego Bay, reports the San Diego Union Tribune.

The Harbour Police were called and a police boat found Hirschfield about 500 ft south of the US Coast Guard Air Station.

Hirschfield boarded the boat and began fighting the two officers on board, knocking one to the deck.

He then grabbed the officer’s taser gun and began striking him in the face with it.

According to the Harbour Police report, Hirschfield then tried to take the officer’s firearm.

As the two struggled over the gun, the second officer shot Hirschfield in the upper body, killing him.

The injured officer was taken to hospital with face and leg injuries.

San Diego Police are investigating the incident.