Mom drowns trying to save girl in culvert
SPIRIT RIVER -- A five-year-old northern Alberta girl who was swept through a culvert by fast-flowing water managed to pull herself from a ditch and run home, but her mother had already drowned trying to save her.
RCMP said Angelina O'Rourke, 34, and her daughter were playing near a culvert at the end of their driveway near Spirit River on Monday when the child fell into the freezing, cold water.
The pair had been waiting for O'Rourke's older daughter to arrive home from school.
Police said the flow of melting snow and ice in the ditch was strong and carried the younger girl 15 metres into the culvert.
She was carried safely through the large drainage pipe and came out the other side.
But O'Rourke got lodged in the culvert after she, too, fell into the water while trying to keep her daughter from floating away. The girl ran home after she failed to find her mother.
The youngster called 911 and told an operator she was home alone, had fallen into the water and was wet and cold.
Police arrived a short while later after the girl had been joined by her nine-year-old sister.
The five-year-old told police she did not know where her mother was. Officers searched the home to no avail.
They left after the children's father and aunt arrived.
O'Rourke often tended cattle on the property, so her husband agreed to check on her whereabouts.
The family called 911 again after he found his wife's body a few yards from the exit of the culvert. The daughters' names were not released.
Spirit River is 60 km north of Grande Prairie.
This happened close to where I live