Family Loses Second Son in Tragic Accident

A family from Sutton, Massachusetts, is mourning the loss of an 18-year-old son who died while boating with friends - a tragedy the family unfortunately knows all too well.

"He had a broad range of friends who loved him," said John Ellsessar, whose son, Timothy Ellsessar, was killed.

John Ellsessar says Tim was swimming off a boat with his older brother Pat, and other friends in Lake Manchaug.

"We had dinner with him last night. Last night after dinner, he went to join his brother over at Lake Manchaug," said John Ellsessar.

The Worcester County District Attorney's Office says they were swimming to the bottom of the lake, about 20 feet deep at that point, when Tim came up and didn't feel right.

"Pat got up, got into the boat, and Tim was hanging on the side and said 'Jeez, I'm kind of dizzy,'" said John Ellsessar.

His older brother, Pat, tried to pull him out.

"Then as Pat finished getting into the boat, turned around, and Tim was sinking to the bottom," John Ellsessar said. "He realized his brother was in trouble. Pat dove in and pulled him up."

Tim's dad says he wasn't responding. Those on board immediately started CPR, called 911 and drove back shore.

An ambulance took Tim to Harrington Hospital in Webster, but sadly, he didn't pull through.

"Talking with the female doctor, the attendant who worked on Tim last night, she said it's not a drowning," said John. "She called it a cardiac event," said John Ellsessar.

Even more heartbreaking for John Ellsessar - his other son, Michael, a high school standout athlete and football player, who would have been 21 today, died exactly five years ago, collapsing on a field after taking a hit to his chest.

"This is my second son in less than five years. People still don't get the message correctly, and that's why I come out and make sure it's delivered correctly," he said.

And that message, in part, he says, is that cardiac arrest is different than a heart attack.

Michael Ellsessar, he says, died of cardiac arrest. That's why he and his family have been instrumental in getting cardiac arrest plans and Automated External Defibrillators, or AED's, in schools across the state, with Michael's Law.

He's passionate about spreading the word, and Thursday night says it's through the power of God that he's able to carry on.

"It's every parents worst nightmare," said John Ellsessar. "My advice to parents is to hug their kids it's all about love, peace and forgiveness, life's too short."

Tim Ellsessar's body is now at the medical examiner's office where an official cause of death will be determined.

The Worcester County District Attorney's Office says his death is not considered suspicious.

Contact Us