Family remembers father who drowned trying to save son in Detroit Lakes
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — Chelsie Schultz was at her friend's wedding dance when she got a phone call with terrible news: Her husband of two years was underwater and rescue crews couldn't find him.
“My heart dropped. I didn't care where I was — I dropped everything and ran," she said.
When his 3-year-old son fell off a bridge over a narrow part of Big Detroit Lake on Saturday night, June 15, 31-year-old Christopher Schultz of Frazee jumped in to rescue him.
Police say Schultz began to struggle while keeping the child above water.
Law enforcement officers towing boats, firefighters and emergency medical workers rushed to the scene after the Becker County Sheriff's Office received a report of the possible drowning near Long Bridge, which crosses a narrow passing on Dead Shot Bay on Big Detroit Lake.
Bystanders, later identified by Chelsie Schultz as friends, went into the water and brought the child to shore.
But Christopher Schultz never resurfaced.
When Chelsie Schultz reached the bridge she wasn’t there for long. She rode in an ambulance to the hospital with her 3-year-old son while crews continued to search for her husband.
It wasn't until later that Schultz found out her husband had drowned. The Becker County Dive Rescue Team was able to locate her husband, who was taken to Essentia St. Mary's-Detroit Lakes Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The child was treated for injuries that weren't life-threatening.
In addition to his wife, Schultz leaves behind a 5-year-old boy, 3-year-old-twins — one boy and one girl — and one boy, age 1.
"He's a hero. He would've done it even if it wasn't his kid," Chelsie said. "He would've helped no matter what."
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Schultz family to help pay for funeral expenses and to care for Schultz's children.
"I'm thankful that I can still look my son in the eyes and see him today," Chelsie said. "(I'm) wishing that we would be able to do it together, but at least I have my son to remember him by."