New Hampshire

Lynn mom drowns trying to save son while hiking in NH, officials say

Melissa Bagley was married to a lieutenant in the Everett Police Department, the agency said

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A hiking trip in the White Mountains turned into a tragedy for a Massachusetts family on Tuesday, when a mother drowned trying to save one of her children, New Hampshire officials say.

The woman was identified Wednesday by the Everett Police Department as Melissa Bagley. Police said Bagley, 44, was married to a lieutenant in their department.



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"While we appreciate all those who have reached out we ask that Lt Bagley and his family be given the time and space to mourn the death of Melissa. Thank you," the department said in a Facebook post.

Melissa Bagley died Tuesday at Franconia Falls trying to save her 10-year-old son.

The family, from Lynn, was hiking with a family friend to Franconia Falls in Lincoln, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and state police. They arrived to the Lincoln Woods trailhead at around 1 p.m., and when they got to the falls, got ready to swim.

One of the children, a 10-year-old boy, fell into a pool of water of the Pemigewasset River at the falls, officials said, and several members of the family jumped into the river to save him from a fast current.

The mother had trouble, too, and two other children jumped in to help; they were able to get their brother out of the water, but another child got stuck between some boulders, according to Fish and Game officials.

The father of the family eventually found the mother on a rock and began doing CPR. She couldn't be revived, officials said.

This file photo shows the Pemigevasset River.
Getty Images, File
This file photo shows the Pemigevasset River.

He made it to where his son was, and pulled him to safety.

Crews arrived, and brought two of the hikers who were injured to the trailhead, where they were then taken to Littleton Regional Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. A funeral home responded for the mother's body, officials said.

Drugs and alcohol were not believed to be a factor in what happened, state police said. They asked anyone who saw what happened to contact investigators at 603-227-2115.

Melissa Bagley died trying to save her son at Franconia Falls in New Hampshire's White Mountains on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023.
Melissa Bagley died trying to save her son at Franconia Falls in New Hampshire's White Mountains on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023.

Meanwhile, Bagley is being remembered as a hero in the community.

"She was so brave to do what she did and it is just so unfortunate the result was tragic," Maureen McDonnell said. "Our hearts go out to her family, her husband who tried to save her, it is just tragic."

Everett's mayor also remembered the mom, saying in part, "As a parent, I know that there is nothing that any parent wouldn’t do for their child. Melissa did everything she could to protect her children and her family."

At the Bagley family's church in Swampscott, the doors were open all day Wednesday with people stopping by to mourn and pray.

Friends in town also remembered Bagley. She was a longtime business owner known for being active in the community, and now everyone is just trying to make sense of what happened.

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