Mom drowns while trying to rescue 2 girls from Lake Erie

Aug 1, 2015 8:10 PM by CBS News

EVANS, N.Y. -- Authorities in western New York say a woman drowned while trying to rescue two girls from Lake Erie.

The two 11-year-olds were in the water at Wendt Beach in Evans just after 7 p.m. Thursday when they started struggling. That's when a woman went in after them, but she soon went underwater.

Authorities say a police lieutenant and a bystander pulled the girls from the water, but the woman drowned. Town of Evans Police have identified her as 51-year-old Mary Creighton of Buffalo, CBS affiliate WIVB reports.

Both girls were conscious and alert when they were taken to a hospital.

WIVB reports that Lake Erie's waves were nearly five feet tall and winds were gusting up to 26.8 miles per hour during the time of the search, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"This type of wave action will literally pull you right out, you get an undertow," North Evans Fire District Chief Nick Mecca told the station. "I don't know if those were the circumstances here, but you get large waves and it pulls people out into deeper water."

A helicopter was used to find the woman. Police say she's the mother of at least one of the girls.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says swimming isn't allowed at the beach.

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