Heroic & Heartbreaking: Father dies after saving son from drowning in Vermont

PHOTO CREDIT: Christina Couture-Paire, Button Bay State Park Facebook Page

FERRISBURGH, Vt. (NEWS10) – A father from Vermont has died saving his son from drowning at a State Park.

Authorities say on July 6 Vermont State Police were called in for a young adult struggling to swim in the water. The boy was attempting to swim from the shore to a small island located within the Button Bay State Park. Police say it is a very short distance.

As the boy was half-way to the island he appeared to have trouble swimming. He yelled to the shore for help. That’s when his father, 36-year-old Jason Russell of Starksboro jumped in to save him.

As Jason was swimming to his son he started to have trouble swimming as well. Despite having difficulty, Jason was able to get to his son and lift him out of the water. At this point though, Jason was starting to submerge under water while elevating his son.

PHOTO CREDIT: Julia Jeffries, Button Bay, VT Facebook
PHOTO CREDIT: Julia Jeffries, Button Bay, VT Facebook

As rescue personal arrived on scene, 36-year-old Aaron Morris, the boy’s mother, was able to find a kayak and paddle out to them. The boy was able to hang on to the front of the kayak; however at this point Jason was unresponsive.

Jason’s wife grabbed him and attempted to lift him out of the water.

Another boat saw what was going on and came to assist Aaron. The boy was lifted into that boat and attempts were made to get Jason into the same boat, but they were unsuccessful.

Another boat arrived on scene and assisted with lifting Jason out of the water.

Jason and his son were met by Vergennes Rescue, Ferrisburgh Fire Department, Middlebury Rescue and Charlotte Rescue. Police say these departments worked tirelessly together to revive Jason who was still unresponsive when they got to shore.

The father and his son were transported to UVM Medical Center in Burlington, VT. Jason’s son was evaluated and released, but Jason was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at UVM Medical Center, where he later died.

It does not appear that alcohol or drugs played any role in the incident.

This incident is still under investigation and any witnesses are asked to call the New Haven State Police Barrack at (802)-388-4919 any with information.

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