‘He died doing what was right': Mother mourns son who drowned trying to save family

First responders said the recent rainfall can make the conditions even more dangerous on the water

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A Lawrence, Massachusetts, man drowned in a New Hampshire river over the weekend as he was trying to rescue his wife and stepson. 

Police said it happened at Swift River in Albany, New Hampshire on Sunday afternoon. Vincent Parr, 37, of Lawrence was trying to rescue his family when the current became so powerful that he got stuck. His family made it safely to shore, but Parr did not survive. 



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His mother, who lives in Vermont, said she and her husband were shocked to receive the news, but they are not surprised he died trying to save others. 

“He was not going to stand there and watch those people in that water and do nothing. He put everyone first,” the victim’s mother Becky Parr said. 

Her son’s death is the third drowning New Hampshire has seen in less than a week. On Friday, a man died after his canoe capsized on Crane Neck Pond. Just a few days before that, a Lynn woman died at Franconia Falls while trying to rescue her 10-year-old son. 

First responders said the recent rainfall can make the conditions even more dangerous on the water. They are urging everyone to use caution during the last few weeks of summer. 

“Rivers have currents and obstacles that are not visible to the naked eye. Currents are a big danger because you can swim against the current all day and you’re not going to make a lot of progress,” Lawrence firefighter Jamiel Ortiz said. 

Parr’s mother said she is grateful to the bystanders who pulled her son out of the river. She said because of them, the family has his remains and can focus on planning a funeral. 

“He didn’t die doing what he loved. He died doing what was right,” Becky Parr said. 

New Hampshire State Police said the incident is still under investigation and they are urging anyone who witnessed it to contact them.

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