Arlington Heights mother drowns after rescuing three boys

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An Arlington Heights woman has drowned while saving three boys in a lake in far northern Wisconsin, authorities said.

Karen Wessel, 47, died Tuesday in a swimming accident in Star Lake in Plum Lake, Wis., near the border with Michigan, according to a release from the Vilas County Sheriff’s office.

That day, Wessel was with her sister and another woman, as well as four children, when they went into the water for a swim.

Authorities said that, according to accounts from one of the women present, three boys had swam across a narrow channel dividing the main shoreline from a sandbar but became too tired to swim back. The women went out to save the boys, each becoming exhausted themselves.

Wessel reached the last boy and was using the weight of her body to try to keep the child above the surface. Eventually, Wessel disappeared in the water.

Another boat came by and secured the boy Wessel was helping. But Wessel was soon spotted floating lifelessly below the water's surface.

She and the boy were taken to an area hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.


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