Woman drowns trying to save son who fell in Trinity River

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on August 17, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 18 at 5:58 PM

Trinity Park

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FORT WORTH — A woman died Wednesday evening after jumping into the Trinity River trying to save her son, who had fallen in the water while playing on a rocky crossing.

A bystander pulled the 8-year-old boy to safety after he fell in around 7:30 p.m. Family members say 35-year-old Dania Martinez, of Fort Worth, could not swim, but went into the river anyway in an attempt to rescue her little boy.

"She was trying to swim or something," said Araceli Ladinas, Martinez's sister-in-law. "She didn't know how to swim ... and she was trying to move her hands, trying to save her life too."

Ladinas said her brother, Martinez's husband, heard screams from another one of their sons as he sat in the family's pickup truck.

"His son called him and he went down the hill too and tried to save him, but he couldn't," Ladinas said. "He couldn't do anything."

She said her brother reached his wife, but that he too is a poor swimmer.

"He said he was trying to pull her from the hair, trying to pull her up, but he was drowning too at the time," she said.

Bystanders jumped in, pulling the little boy and Martinez from the water.

Martinez was rushed to Texas Health Fort Worth Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 8:03 p.m.

Ladinas said the child is now wracked with guilt.

"He feels it was his fault because his mom was trying to take him out of the water," she said.

Martinez leaves behind two other younger children.

Wednesday's incident happened at the same location where a man died in July 2010 trying to save a child who fell into the water. In that case, the child was saved by a passing bicyclist.

Officials with the Trinity River Authority, which is responsible for the river, said they will investigate and look into public access at the site.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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