Local Man Dies Heroically Trying to Save Kids
Yesterday, 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