CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An escape from the city heat ended in tragedy on Tuesday.
A father from the Bronx was being called a hero Thursday for jumping into a Westchester County river to save his sons, only to drown in the attempt.
CBS 2’s Lou Young visited the man’s family in the Bronx, and the scene of the tragedy.
“He just jumped by impulse and he put himself into the water,” Ophelia Chalcos said.
Ophelia Chalco described her husband’s final moments through an interpreter: a river outing that turned suddenly frantic early Tuesday evening.
The 40-year-old transmission mechanic and father of four from the Bronx gave everything to push his struggling sons back to shallow water. The boys’ memories are a jangle of haunting images.
“The water pulled him away and he just couldn’t move a lot. So he standed there and his face was purple. He was so scared. We had to give him mouth-to-mouth,” Mikey Chalco said.
Other swimmers pulled them out and helped search for Carlos, but it was too late. Ten-year-old Arly said he watched from the riverbank.
“I lost my dad and he’s a hero. He saved my brother,” Arly said.
The place where it happened is a stretch of the Croton River below the reservoir dam, half-way to the Hudson River. Carlos Chalco’s widow said it’s a place he discovered years ago as a summer retreat after a long day at work.
“They always go there for seven years. She said she just learned last year somebody else drowned there in the same place,” Ophelia Chalco said.
Locals said the river is popular but deceivingly dangerous for weak swimmers.
“It looks like it’s calm and nice, but it’s dam water and dams flow pretty fast,” Croton-on-Hudson resident Mallory Dymant said.
In the past decade records indicate five people have drowned in the deep hidden current.