Mom Drowns After Jumping In Water To Save Son


A Colorado mother died on Aug. 23 after jumping into Lake Powell in Utah to rescue her 2-year-old son.

Chelsea Russell was on a houseboat when her son fell overboard, according to media reports.

Russell jumped in behind him, and was able to hold him above water.

A significant distance opened up between the boat and the two people, but another family member was able to get into a smaller boat tied to the back of the houseboat and rescue the child.

“The conscious child was rescued from atop the mother’s chest however; the mother was unconscious when pulled from the water,” a statement by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office read, according to KSTU.

Attempts were made to resuscitate Russell at the scene. She was taken to a nearby marina, where CPR continued for more than 30 minutes, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

She was a legal associate at the law firm Welborn, Sullivan, Meck and Tooley.

“Chelsea was an amazing mother, an exceptional legal talent, an extraordinary athlete, a loyal and generous friend, and left us all better for knowing her, the firm said in a statement, KSTU reported. "She is sorely missed.” 

Neither Russell nor her son were wearing life jackets when the accident occurred.

“A common denominator in more than 120 fatalities at Lake Powell in the last decades is that victims were not wearing life jackets,” Meri Sias, acting chief ranger at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, said.

All children younger than 12-years-old are required to wear life jackets while on the lake, and those older than 12 are encouraged to do so.

Russell’s death was the sixth fatality at the Glen Canyon Recreational Area in 2016, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The boy was flown to hospital in a stable condition for a precautionary check-up.

“There are no words to convey the tragedy of losing a loved one like this,” said Terri Tucker, acting superintendent of the recreation area, according to KSTU. “Our hearts are with the family and friends of the victims during this time of unexpected pain and loss.”

The National Park Service, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and Utah State Parks are investigating the fatal incident.

Sources. KSTU, Salt Lake Tribune/ photo credit: Welborn Sullivan Meck Tooley/KSTU

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