June 2, 2010

Body Found in Potomac River

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Rescuers found a body in the Potomac River Wednesday afternoon. Rescuers had been searching for 13-year-old Emily Escalante Arotinco and her 35-year-old mother Olga Arotinco Gaspar. They both disappeared on Memorial Day under powerful currents just northwest of the District. On Tuesday, family members recounted the tragic accident. The family says they gathered along the river, but everyone knew to stay out of the water. In a matter of seconds, a fun family holiday get-together turned tragic. Relatives watched as the two went under water.

"She screamed, ‘She needs help! Help.’ Everybody, all my friends wanted to help her but we couldn’t. The river was too dangerous," said Jorge Oribares, the girl's uncle.

It is a heartbreaking story and hope is fading for the missing mother and daughter. Emily’s uncle was a few feet nearby and painfully remembers watching and feeling helpless.

"It was bad. I felt very bad. I tried to do everything. I can't do it. I said God help my niece and my sister in law. I can't do nothing," cried Oribares.

As the family holds vigil by the shore, rescue crews searched a second day. The family says Juan Escalante desperately tried to hold on to his wife and daughter but the river current was just too powerful.

"My uncle went in to help them and was holding them but he couldn't hold on anymore," said Rossi Ferrer.

Relatives say 35-year-old Olga Arotinco Gaspar lost her footing while trying to get a runaway volleyball. Her daughter, 13-year old Emily Escalante Arotinco, went to help her mother but got sucked into the water too. SOURCE: FOX DC

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