Mom's Last Act: Holding Drowning Son Above Water

Chelsea Russell, 33, could not be revived after jumping into Lake Powell
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2016 6:29 AM CDT
Mom's Last Act: Holding Drowning Son Above Water
A Colorado woman drowned on Tuesday trying to save her son during a houseboat cruise on Lake Powell.   (By Justin Brockie from Wolcott, Connecticut, USA (Lake Powell, Arizona) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

A 33-year-old woman who jumped into Lake Powell managed to save her 2-year-old son before drowning, KSL reports. The toddler fell from a moving houseboat on Tuesday afternoon during a cruise with his family near the Halls Crossing area of the lake in Utah. Chelsea Russell, 33, jumped in after her son and managed to hold him above water until he could be rescued. But it was too late for the Lakewood, Colo., mother, who was unresponsive when she was pulled from the water, authorities say. Neither was wearing a life jacket, though they are required for boaters who are 12 and under. It is unclear how long the pair were in the water. The San Juan County Sheriff’s office says the houseboat traveled a "significant distance" from the two before being shut off.

Russell’s brother untied a smaller boat that was being towed behind the houseboat. "The conscious child was rescued from atop the mother’s chest," says the sheriff's office. But Russell was unconscious and efforts to revive her failed. The boy was flown to a hospital in Flagstaff, Ariz., and was reported in stable condition, the Denver Post reports. Russell is the sixth person to die this year in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The acting chief ranger says failure to wear life jackets is "a common denominator in more than 120 fatalities at Lake Powell in the last decades. All boaters on Lake Powell are encouraged to wear life jackets." (This mom was paralyzed while saving her girls.)

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