PRESTON — A Father’s Day outing in Preston turned tragic Sunday afternoon after a mother jumped into the Marsh Creek after her toddler, who fell from the Poplar Neck Bridge.
Dive teams dragged the Choptank River after the 22-year-old woman who jumped in after her 2 1/2-year-old at about 2:30 p.m. did not resurface.
Natural Resources Police Cpl. Barry Ball said the woman, her husband and their toddler were packing up after fishing on the bridge when the toddler fell overboard. The mother, who officials said cannot swim, jumped in after the child.
The husband also jumped in, and got a hold of both his wife and child, when the current started taking them away from the bridge.
Sgt. John Felts of the Salisbury Police Department, who was visiting his father who lives near the bridge, heard what was happening and jumped in to help.
“It was without hesitation, I just jumped in,” he said. “I think anyone would have done the same.”
He got the toddler onto the shore, but the father lost contact with the mother, officials said.
Dive teams searched until shortly after 4:30 p.m., when dragging started.
The father and other family members remained on scene as crews searched for the woman. The toddler was transported by ambulance to Memorial Hospital at Easton.
Members of the Preston Volunteer Fire Department and Mid-Shore Dive Team located the woman at 6:20 p.m. not far from the bridge.
Crews at the scene included Mid-Shore Dive Team, Preston Volunteer Fire Department and Natural Resources Police. The U.S. Coast Guard was dispatched from Oxford.
The water there is between six and eight feet deep, and often has strong currents.