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Chandler man drowns in Salt River trying to save son, 5

May 25, 2009

A Chandler man drowned in the Salt River on Sunday evening trying to save his 5-year-old son's life, police say.

Around 6:50 p.m. Joseph Gutierrez, 29, was in the water, near a bridge on a "poor quality raft" and his son was on an inflatable dolphin toy, said Deputy Lindsey Smith spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

When the boy fell off the toy, Gutierrez jumped into the 17-foot-deep water to rescue him, Smith said.

Two bystanders who were standing on the riverbank, also dove into the water and brought the boy safely to shore. Gutierrez, however, drowned.

"The two bystanders are considered to be true heroes," Smith said. Before the accident, the pair was watching people float on inflatable tubes down the Salt River.

Smith did not identify the bystanders. The duo does not want media attention, the spokeswoman said.

"They stated they are dealing with the events that happened yesterday and are glad they were able to help the child."

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Jahna Berry
©Copyright 2009 Arizona Republic

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