Michael Mayer, 29, died trying to save his partner Carissa Stone, 27, who also perished in a river in Newfield, near Ithaca, where they lived together with their five-year-old son Gunner.
They were standing on a nearby plateau with their son and their nine-year-old niece and nephew. All of the children survived the tragic accident, according to local authorities. On 16 July, they confirmed the incident took place on 12 July by Tompkins County undersheriff Jennifer Olin.
Typically, the waters at West Branch Cayuga Inlet in Newfield are safe. However, they had become deeper and harder to swim in due to the recent heavy rainfalls. Mr Mayer managed to capture the moment that Ms Stone fell into the water, dropping his phone to jump in after her. The time on the video showed that this happened at 6.22pm.
After seeing the two adults struggle in the water, the three children ran to get help, asking a nearby person to call for emergency services. The couple’s bodies were recovered after a three-hour rescue mission, according to Tompkins County officials.
Friends and family paid tribute to the couple in obituaries, with Ms Stone’s mother describing her as a “wild child’ with a “contagious smile”.
“Her mother’s wild child, she lived her life without fear of the unknown and lit up the room with her contagious smile and personality. She was fiercely loved by all who knew her,” Ms Stone’s obituary read.
Mr Mayer’s obituary paid tribute to his connection to his family and friends. It also paid homage to his love of exploration.
It read, “He was very adventurous exploring the outdoors.”
His brother told Syracuse.com, “He died a hero”.