The family of a Southern California woman is in mourning after she drowned Saturday near Parker. Tasha Turner, 30, of Hemet, California, died when the boat she was riding in sank and she became tangled in a ski rope connected to the boat.
The day started as a birthday celebration in Big River, a community on the California side of the Colorado River near Parker. Around 6:30 p.m. the boat lost power, became swamped and began to sink, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Boat operator Umberto Bagnara of Beaumont, California, along with four other passengers, escaped from the sinking boat. Turner, however, became tangled up in the ski ropes they were using for tubing.
Turner’s family told NBC4 News of Los Angeles that Turner realized she was going to drown and handed over her 8-year-old daughter, Genesis, to a good Samaritan on a personal watercraft.
“The boat was so heavy I believe it got tied up around her and pulled her in,” Turner’s boyfriend, Norris Salah, told NBC4.
He described his girlfriend he’d known for four years as a people person, willing to go out of her way to say hello to anyone she met.
“She really loved people. She was a people person and had a lot of friends. It was insane,” he told Today’s News-Herald.
Before being pulled under the water by the sinking boat, Turner handed her daughter to a passing Jet-Skier to get her to safety, according to Myesha Turner, her sister. “Before her mom threw her, she gave her a hug and said ‘I love you. Goodbye,” Myesha Turner said.
Norris said that type of selfless act reflected the type of person Tasha Turner was.
“If your life was in jeopardy, and you had people all around you, what would you do? Would you try to save yourself?” he said.
Norris said he had a ring in his pocket and planned to propose to Tasha Turner during the trip. “I love you very much. I love you,” Norris said during his interview with NBC4.
He also wished to offer his condolences to the other family who lost a loved one on the Lake over the weekend.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident. Anyone with information may call 760-326-9200.
A GoFundMe account has been established to help Tasha Turner’s family. More information is available at https://www.gofundme.com/lets-do-it-for-Tasha-and-genesis.
News Editor Haley Walters contributed to this story.