Dad, 31, Drowns While Saving 3-Year-Old Son Who Fell from Bridge Hours Before Father's Day
A Minnesota dad tragically died this weekend, just hours before Father’s Day, while attempting to rescue his child who had fallen into a lake.
Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander confirms to PEOPLE that Christopher Franklin Nicholas Schultz, 31, of Frazee was identified as the drowning victim from Saturday evening’s incident in Detroit Lakes.
Though it was sadly too late for selfless father, Schultz’s child, a 3-year-old boy, was safely brought to shore and has since been treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
According to Glander, emergency personnel responded to a possible drowning report outside of Long Bridge restaurant at Dead Shot Bay on Saturday at approximately 8:22 p.m.
When officers arrived, bystanders at the scene explained that they witnessed Schultz immediately jump into the waters after his 3-year-old accidentally fell from a bridge.
Unfortunately, while attempting to save his child, Schultz struggled to also keep himself above water. Bystanders eventually rescued the toddler, but his father tragically never resurfaced, according to Glander.
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After transporting the child to a hospital, Glander said a team of officers from the Detroit Lakes Police Department, Becker County Sheriff’s Office, and St. Mary’s EMS personnel, immediately began searching for Schultz.
The Detroit Lakes Fire Department, Minnesota State Patrol, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also assisted at the scene, according to Glander.
Schultz’s body was eventually recovered by a fisherman and Becker County’s Dive Rescue Team about 40 minutes later. He was then transported to Essentia St. Mary’s Hospital but was sadly pronounced dead.
Glander noted that the incident remains under investigation.
In the wake of the tragedy, Schultz’s loved ones have created a GoFundMe page to raise money for his funeral costs and medical expenses. In just one day, the campaign has raised over $2,200.
Many of Schultz’s friends and coworkers also used the GoFundMe as an opportunity to share their most beloved memories with him.
“I worked with him and got to know him very well,” wrote one person. “We’d have our lunch together and he would always talk about his kids and how much he loved them. I’ll miss you Chris.”
“I am at a loss for words. Great Father. A hero. A Great Friend. He helped me through a tuff [sic] time in my life by being a friend to vent to and helped me in so many ways,” another added. “I will be forever grateful. Our community lost a good man.”