05-04-2008, 05:58 AM #1
Mother drowns trying to save son...
Mother dies saving son
By Alice Hudson
Lisa Marie Gould and son Dylan
Even as Lisa Marie Gould began to tire in the freezing water, struggling desperately to keep 9-year-old son Dylan's head above the raging rapids of the Motueka River, the 36-year-old was telling her boy to stay calm, that he would make it out alive.
Somehow, he did, even as his brave mother was swept to her death.
The single mother of four children drowned at Blue Gum corner near Brooklyn, Motueka, on a school holiday outing to play by the river bank.
Dylan slipped and fell into the water, a muddy torrent flowing at five times its normal rate after rain. His mother jumped in to save him. Her body washed up on the river bank 500m away, half an hour later.
Yesterday, as shocked friends and whanau gathered at Lisa's mother Jenny's home to grieve, the dead woman's youngest daughter, Paige, 13, told the Herald on Sunday of the horror of watching the tragedy unfold.
Choking back tears, Paige recalled how she, Dylan and her mum had gone to the river so Dylan could show them "this cool swimming hole".
"We were playing on the rocks, taking videos on Mum's phone and stuff. I was turned around getting some sticks cos my brother wanted to throw them in the river.
"I heard Dylan yell, then I heard Mum scream out his name. I turned around and Mum was standing up in the water trying to get Dylan and he was putting his arms out - but he started going down the rapids."
Paige says her mother dropped her cellphone and grabbed Dylan, holding on to him and keeping his head above the water - "but then they kept going under. They got swept out to the middle. I was screaming, 'What do I do?"'
Paige used her mobile phone to call her sister and the police, and was persuaded not to jump in after them.
"I was on the phone to the police. I could still see them. They kept going under but Mum was trying to guide Dylan to the side."
Paige ran to the road to follow the raging river as it swept her brother and mother away. "Then all I could see was Dylan coming up the side. He was okay. I was screaming at him about Mum. But he didn't know where Mum was. Then he started screaming out to Mum, as well.
"That was when the police came and we just had to wait, until we were told she was dead, but I knew that already. She had been in there for over half an hour and it was freezing."
Motueka police were at the river soon after the call from Paige, but could not risk the treacherous water. They called in a jet-ski operator and the Nelson-based Summit Rescue Helicopter to help. Both parties arrived just as Gould's body washed up on the river bank. Paramedics tried for 30 minutes but were unable to revive her.
"I was yelling at them that they had to find my Mum and make her okay," Paige recounted.
"I was still standing there and her shoes came floating back. My brother lost his jacket, shoes and hat."
Dylan, Paige, and Gould's two other children, Casey, 15, and Jessica, 20, say they knew their Mum would always do anything for them.
"She said if anything happened, she'd rather us bury her than her bury us. She's always said she would die for us," Paige said.
Dylan had been quiet since the accident, and did not want to speak about what happened.
Paige said her mother was supportive and loving and was always there to listen and to help her kids.
"She was a friend and taught us a lot about life, and never to fear death. She brought us up around good people, and good beliefs.
"She was good at discipline, but she was also a real good, fun Mum. Like anyone else, she had her problems, but she was the best Mum she could be. She gave us everything that we needed and she always put family before herself."
Dylan, his sister said, was a "Mummy's boy" the only boy in the family, and the youngest.
"She would always take Dylan with her, and she would buy him things. She bought us all presents but he got special little treats," Casey, 15 said.
Lisa's mother Jenny will care for her four grandchildren. She described her daughter as a devoted "hands-on mum who lived for her kids".
Lisa's body was brought home yesterday, and a Maori priest performed a blessing ceremony. Although not Maori, her family said Lisa had embraced the culture of her children and would be farewelled with a tangi.
Prayers for this wonderful mother and her children, God Bless and keep her.
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