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Mom drowns after trying to save 10-year-old son who fell in waterfall

A Massachusetts family has lost its matriarch after a tragic trip to a hiking destination.
Mom drowns after trying to save 10-year-old son who fell in waterfall
Posted at 5:47 PM, Aug 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-16 19:47:58-04

A family outing turned into a tragedy Tuesday when a mother drowned in a waterfall trying to save one of her kids, officials in New Hampshire said.

The 44-year-old had traveled with four other family members from Lyon, Massachusetts, and a friend from Salem to hike the Franconia Falls in New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest Tuesday afternoon. 

While at the falls, the family's 10-year-old son fell in one of the pools and was trapped by its currents. His mom entered the water to help in the boy's rescue, but she started to have trouble, prompting two other kids to jump in the water to help, New Hampshire police said.

The family ultimately rescued the 10-year-old, but his 18-year-old brother  became trapped in boulders after jumping in, joining their mother in struggling to sustain themselves in the water, officials said. 

The father saved the older son, who was later treated for injuries at a local hospital, but they were unable to save the mother, who was found on a rock. Authorities said she was pronounced deceased after resuscitation efforts failed.

SEE MORE: Missing woman believed to be found dead along Maryland hiking trail

The police department withheld the names of the family pending notification of next of kin, but on Wednesday, Massachusetts' Everett Police Department identified the mom as Melissa Bagley, the wife of a lieutenant in the department.

"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 post read.

Franconia Falls is a destination for travelers who often swim in its pools after a long hike. One website calls it a "favorite hike for families" and another says it's "an easy-to-reach destination that's lauded for being a fun, family-friendly natural waterpark."

An autopsy for Bagley is scheduled, but New Hampshire Police said alcohol and drugs don't appear to be a factor. The incident is now an ongoing investigation.


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