Local Man Dies Heroically Trying to Save Kids

Tim HattenYesterday, a family’s camping trip to the Holmes area ended tragically with the drowning of Timothy Hatten, age 35 of Fortuna. This morning we spoke to Lola Crothers, his mother-in-law, who told the story she knew personally or had gathered from family members.  Crothers explained that Hatten’s step-son, Harley, who is also her grandson was graduating from high school.

“All Harley wanted was for the whole family to camp for the weekend,” she said.  The family spent a couple of days at the river enjoying each other and swimming.

Yesterday, Crothers said, two children from the families gathered there, nine and twelve-year-old boys got in trouble in the water. “They were swimming there all day, but then they got in a spot where it was really swift,” she said. “Three people jumped in to save them–Harley, Louie and Timmy.”

Tim Hatten, she said, got caught in the current almost immediately.  Louie could see that Timmy was in trouble. “He could see that Timmy was going under. Timmy had his boots on,” Crothers said.

While Harley was saving his little brother, the other man, Louie, she said, started to turn to help Hatten. “Timmy hollered at him to go get the kid.” Louie then continued after the other boy in trouble. He managed to get that boy out. Harley managed to get his little brother out. But the current was so swift and strong that, Crothers said, “Harley had to be rescued because he was so tired from getting the first kid out.”

When they returned to help Hatten, he was gone. It took a helicopter crew searching the river before they were able to locate his body some time later.

“The current was just too swift,” Crothers said. “The river has changed. These boys were raised there and knew that river well and they still got in trouble.”

Crothers said that one of her young grandsons who originally got caught in the current told her, “I thought I wasn’t going to see another day, Grandma.”

Timothy Hatten left behind a wife and three children. “He was a hero,” said Crothers. “He told them to go on and get the kids when he got hung up.”

UPDATE Tuesday: A family member asked, “If you could tell anyone who wants to donate they can write checks to Ayres family creamation 2620 jacobs avenue eureka ca TIMMY HATTEN HERO FUND .Our family would appreciate the help we need to raise $1000 in week for the morturary.”

Earlier Chapter: Rescuers Responding to Holmes Flat for Possible Drowning



  • That’s a hero!!!God bless you all.my condolences

    • Now here’s a perfect example of someone dying when death doesn’t have to be.that would be if God’s Will and I know being a son of god and working for him full time he loves us all so much he would wake him with his powers through me.my condolences to family.

    • So others may live…rest easy brother…we got this. LaMonte Fire


  • Very sad. You are a hero Timmy

  • What a tragic story……This man left this world a “True Hero!” My heart felt sympathy goes out to this man’s family.

  • Bless this young man and comfort for his family. So brave. I wish I could help his family during these trying times.

  • rest in peace

  • Oh my goodness! 😢 such a Hero! God bless you all!

  • He saved my boy we will never forget his selfless act no words could explain thank you timmy hatten our hero

  • So sorry Lola. Just keep remembering the good stuff an know it was his time to go.we all have a time we are born an a time we will die an when its our time its unchangeable. So sorry for your loss.

  • RIP! You did the right thing and saved lives and sacrificed yours.

  • Really hard. Amazing how peaceful the river looks from a distance.

  • Three children? There’s just no words right now.
    farewell to a brave dad and prayers for the children.

  • So sorry to hear this. My condolences to his family and friends.

  • I can’t stop crying after reading after that. I’m so sorry for the family that had to experience that during a special family trip. My condolences for your loss, I’ll be praying for those kids, lossing a parenent as a child right in front of your eyes, heartbreaking. RIP, your forever a Hero….

  • Rest in piece Timmy, you passed as a hero would. Never forget you bud.

  • Prayers, so sorry for your loss a true hero.

  • This was my cousin 🙁 RIP Timmy you are loved and will be missed.

  • That man is a hero in heaven

  • RIP Tim, the world needs more people like you to stick around. You gave the ultimate sacrifice for another and the world can’t ask more from a person. You are a hero.

  • Such a tragic incident. So sad it ended in such an memory for the children n all involved. I feel for yu all. RIP Timmy. U r truly a hero.

  • So sorry for your loss. May you find peace in knowing he is with his Heavenly Father now. May god bless you all.

  • Pingback: [Update 3:36 p.m.] Rescuers Responding to Holmes Flat for Possible Drowning – Redheaded Blackbelt

  • Tim… You will be missed little brother. Someday we will meet again.

  • Bless That Man

    Tear jerker. I wish it would have ended differently. That man is a hero. May a little sliver of comfort come to the mother knowing her son saved lives.

  • I’m at a loss for words… Tears

  • U will be missed Tim! My heart go’s out to his family

  • U will be missed Tim

  • God bless him and may he rest in peace!

  • Kimberly faulks

    A true heroic act while in trouble himself. RIP! Prayers for the family.

  • R.I.P.

  • How tragic and sad. Condolences to the family!

  • Carolyn Hensley


  • margaret johnson

    You will never be forgotten timmy. Rip

  • Timmy, you made the decision to help those two boys and ultimately sacrificed your life in doing so. You are a true hero. God bless you. R.I. P Young man.

  • All my prayers to this family. This young man died trying to help. What a HERO …. Do bless all involved.

  • I’m grateful for Tim’s example and praying for his dear family. Rest in Peace Tim, and may Providence bless your family always.

  • DrMarm Twining

    Oh, my heart goes out to his family. I have tears running down my face. (sitting in a hotel lobby) Hopefully, there will be a memorial program that can educate others about the changing currents and the selfless decision he made for the kids to be saved.

  • Is there a fund for his family yet? We’d like to donate, I cant imagine raising three boys on my own. RIP God Bless

  • A true Hero. His family should find a piece of comfort in knowing he ultimately sacrificed his own life to save the kids…and by exhibiting such ultimate heroism this man clearly had been surrounded by loved ones that helped shape his character. We simply do not know why such tragedies occur, but clearly this hero’s work was finished here…I can only imagine the lives he has touched…I am so very sorry for the families grief and sorrow. ❤️

    • Im sorry for this family loss he was a hero and put his life in danger to save the kids what inspiration soneone raised him right and he did what he could to save the kids he sure left a mark on this world what a tragic event that took place god knew it was his time to go he was a good hero and just know god only takes the best rip timmy

  • mendocino mamma

    Please be safe in the river. It looks so peaceful but tricks those who come to enjoy it. RIP. Blessings to the family. Stick together! Support each other. Maybe like 5 years ago I was out on the eel. Dude was with his family…playing ball with my dog. Did not know him. Everyone chill splashing. Then bang dudes gone…family is freaking out. They somehow find him and drag him up on the bank laying him there. They are screaming and freaking out. He is pure white…out …eyes rolled back…lips blue…no response or pulse. I’m like damn…call 911…no reception…I just grab him…Throw him on his stomach and start pounding on his back like a mad woman. I’m yelling at family in spanish…turns out I learn later they were from Nepal…no wonder I couldn’t communicate with them!
    I pound away…telling him your not dying today. Bang he vomits and spits up tons of water. Takes a big breath and coughs. I couldn’t believe it. And we had went to the water to spread a friends ashes that day who commited suicide and I saved a life in the end. He wound up in Howard Hospital ICU. The river is so tricky…RIP. <3

  • Damn…. RIP TIM!!

  • Hero surely and sure glad to see the support for the selfless actions!
    Good man, and I for one am thankful for genuine and selfless folks such as this..

  • RIP to a true man husband and father who made the ultimate sacrifice

  • RIP young man. Prayers go out to the family. He is in God’s hands now so he’s okay.

  • You forfitted your life to save them rip. My heart & thoughts with the families involved

  • Tammy I love you and I always will and you will always be the best brother I ever had you were always there for me when I didn’t have time in life and everything else you are a hero in God’s eyes and my eyes and your children’s eyes and your families I will always love you and I’ll always care I’m proud of you and Every Witch Way for everything you have done for these children I love you brother love your sister Aurora

  • So sad for his wife and family. He was heroic to jump in like that. Please take off your clothing and shoes, grab a piece of rope…. Thank god the children were safe after this loss.

  • This family man in the prime of his life gave his life for another!!! There is no other pure act that can compare!
    The heart and mind are properties of the soul. Love can always reach that other world. He will retain his memories of his love ones(his life here)and continue to feel their love for him. You can pray for him as he will pray for all of you(his dear family).
    Tim is a noble soul that will inspire others from that invisible realm!
    “Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. It will endure as long as the Kingdom of God, His sovereignty, His dominion and power will endure. It will manifest the signs of God and His attributes, and will reveal His loving kindness and bounty. The movement of My Pen is stilled when it attempteth to befittingly describe the loftiness and glory of so exalted a station. The honor with which the Hand of Mercy will invest the soul is such as no tongue can adequately reveal, nor any other earthly agency describe. ”
    From the writings of the Baha’i’ Faith

  • My deepest condolences to all of his friends and families. May God hold them all up and keep them supported throughout this hardship. He is a Hero for his sacrifice to give ones life for the life of others, I know the children will always remember this act of kindness and generosity. I pray for them to grow up and not feel guilty over this in anyway shape or form. My prayers are with you all.

  • You were a good man and a good friend see you on the other side Timmy…..

  • So very sad. He died a hero. He put those children’s lives before his own. The world lost a wonderful person. Condolences to the family during this horrible time.

  • I love you, Timmy & I will miss you greatly. You had a loving & helpful heart. I have some sweet memories to remember you by…

  • I grew up on the Trinity River, and my father had strict rules for swimming: no swimming before the 4th of July (water too high and too cold) and no swimming after Labor Day. People who’ve grown up on the river respect its power. Although not true in this tragic instance, it is often true that drowning victims are from outside the area.

  • To Tim’s family sorry for your loss he won his place next to the throne in heaven

  • Wow that’s how God does his angels know that they are someone’s hero be cuz those unexpected deaths are the ones they say are the hardest ones because in order to save those boys Timmy knew in his heart that’s what had to happen and if he wouldn’t have done it who else would’ve or could’ve Nobody it was his turn to go home Timmy isn’t dead he just lives in a place where he can be the boys’ s anngel all the time ….

  • am sorry to hear of your loss its one thing am not good with at all it never leaves me when one dies ? I do not no why all these sad things just hang on too me ? So For What Its Worth Were So Sorry For Your Loss & God Bless The Family’s, Amen..,

  • Sorry for your loss lola

  • What state and zip code can those financial gifts be sent to?
    Find me on FB /OzarksArtistTD and please let me know so I can share?
    God bless y’all, & all Tim’s loved ones.

  • Prayers for all concerned. A true act of courage and placing a child above himself. R I P. God Bless and be with this family.

  • God bless you Timmy for your heroic sacrifice. Our condolences to his family ~ Tom and Judy Procter

  • Pingback: $400 Needed for Cremation of Hero Who Died to Save Children – Redheaded Blackbelt

  • Donations can be made at wells fargo fortuna cA account 9225432070

  • I am so sorry for your loss, prayers for his family.
    Jesus died to save us and this young man died to save these young boys he is definitely a hero.

  • Allah smiles upon him.

  • Way to do it Timmy my heart goes out to you my brother Chrystal,I know I didn’t spell your name proper, Lola The kids my prayers and hopes are with you all!

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