Mother drowns trying to save son from current at popular waterfall

A Massachusetts mother drowned trying to save her son who slipped into the rushing waters of a popular waterfall during a family outing.

Melissa Bagley, 44, jumped into the Franconia Falls in the White Mountain National Forest on Tuesday after her 10-year-old son was pulled away by the current.

Ms Bagley was visiting the falls in New Hampshire this week along with her children and husband Lt Sean Bagley, a Massachusetts police officer, when the tragedy happened.

Sgt Heidi Murphy with the Fish and Game Department said the child slipped and fell into a pool and could not escape the fast, circulating current, so Ms Bagley “jumped into the river to help her child and began to immediately have trouble.”

Two older children jumped in to help their mother and brother, but the 18-year-old became lodged in the boulders, Ms Murphy said. Both the child who was trapped and the one who initially was swept away were saved from the water and treated for their injuries.

Lt Bagely found his wife in the water at the bottom of the falls, Ms Murphy said. He performed CPR, but she could not be revived and died at the scene.

The Everett Police Department identified Melissa Bagley as the wife of Lt. Sean Bagley in a post shared on Facebook.

“While we appreciate all those who have reached out we ask that Lt Bagley and his family be given the time and space to mourn the death of Melissa,” the department said in a statement.

Franconia Falls is a popular swimming area that people can hike to in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire.

There are giant rock slabs that visitors can slide off into the waters but there are warnings that people should “take a moment to observe the turbulence in the pool below the falls to help you gauge potential risks.”

Ms Murphy said there is more water this time of year, which can lead to a stronger current and result in dangerous situations.

“Because of changes in elevation, there’s definitely going to be a current anyway, but the fact of the matter is that there is more volume of water at this time of year does make it a little bit more dangerous,” Ms Murphy said.

There have been other drownings at the falls including a 38-year-old man in July 2017, a 17-year-old hiker in August 2015 and a 39-year-old man in October 2003.

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