Man Dies Trying To Save Daughters From Drowning

A father is being remembered as a hero for helping to save his little girls from drowning, reports Esme Murphy (1:51). WCCO 4 News At 5 - June 7, 2021

Video Transcript

- A father is being remembered as a hero for helping to save his little girls from drowning. 26-year-old Leland Morris was with his two and four-year-old daughters and their mother as they struggled in Moore lake yesterday. The girls made it out of the water. Sadly, their dad did not. As Esme Murphy reports, it all happened in just a few minutes.

ESME MURPHY: On a hot day like Sunday, the cool waters of Moore lake just off a highway 65 in Fridley looked awfully welcoming. Diamond Biever says she and her family, including her children's father, Leland Morris were on inflatable rafts when four-year-old Serenity began struggling.

DIAMOND BEAVERS: It looked to me like she was going to go under. So I started to get off. And he was like, I got it. I'm a go get her.

ESME MURPHY: What happened next is a blur. Diamond also had three-month-old Messiah out in the water with her. As Leland tried to save Serenity, he began struggling.

DIAMOND BEAVERS: Leland was screaming help, help. Call 911.

ESME MURPHY: More people actually drown in lakes than in swimming pools. Diamond Beavers said she thought she knew how to swim. And she thought Leland knew how to swim. But both of them clearly struggled in these conditions.

DIAMOND BEAVERS: And I'm watching him just flailing and trying to grab the girl, trying to keep them from going under. I got out my raft and went under the water. The sand sunk under my feet.

ESME MURPHY: Bystanders helped pull both girls to shore. But by then, Leland was underwater. And no one could find him.

DIAMOND BEAVERS: It was happening too fast. It was all within a 10 minute increment. Like we got in the pool. Five minutes, everything went wrong.

ESME MURPHY: She said Leland gave his own life for the girls he adored.

DIAMOND BEAVERS: Leland was a hero. These kids called him hero every day. I didn't expect for him to be gone this soon.

ESME MURPHY: Esme Murphy, WCCO 4 News.

- Water safety experts say that lakes could be more difficult for people who are not strong swimmers because there are steep drop offs that you can't see.