Family Details Tragedy at Trinity Park

By Amanda Guerra
|  Thursday, Aug 18, 2011  |  Updated 6:27 PM CDT
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A mother died trying to save her son from the strong current of the Trinity River.

Amanda Guerra, NBCDFW.com

A mother died trying to save her son from the strong current of the Trinity River.

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A Fort Worth family is speaking out after a mom drowned trying to save her young son.

It happened Wednesday night at the Trinity Park in Fort Worth.

Family members said 8-year-old Rusbel Martinez was trying to catch tadpoles when he fell into the Trinity River, which runs through the park.

His mom, Dania Martinez, 35, who couldn't swim, tried to stand on the rocks to save her son, but she fell in the water during the process.

Dania's step daughter witnessed the whole thing.

"She was coming in and stuff and she had my step brother on her back," said Alejandra Ladinos.

"They basically got near the rocks and I was just like, 'throw him at me,' because I could tell she was ready to pass out. And she threw him at me and he was really close so I caught him."

Dania slipped back into the water. Her husband jumped in to save her.

"He tried to grab her but she already started going under," said Ladinos.

"So he tried to grab anything he could. He got her hair and stuff and he was trying to pull her up... then he started drowning too because her weight and he wasn't a good swimmer."

Ladinos said a passerby witnessed the struggle and jumped into the water to help pull Dania to shore. Ladinos said when Dania finally emerged she was pale and not breathing.

Doctors pronounced her dead at the hospital.

"I want people to know that she was a good person," said Ladinos. She would do anything for her kids. As you can see, she risked her own life for her son, knowing she wouldn't live on."

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