Man who drowned in canal was father of four

BOISE -- The family of a man who drowned in the New York Canal Monday says he leaves behind four young children.

Michael Nelson, 23, died while trying to "surf" on a piece of wood tied to a dam near Fox Brush Drive and Five Mile Road. Nelson's foot got caught in the rope that held the wood to the dam, and he was dragged underwater.

A passerby pulled him from the water about ten minutes later, but it was too late. Nelson was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Nelson's family admits he should never have been surfing in the canal.

Now, they are remembering a young father's life, hoping others will realize the risk of these waters.

"One flip can change your entire world," said Angela Nelson, Michael Nelson's sister.

Michael was surfing on a board Monday night when the rope caught his foot and dragged him under water. His sister Angela was the first to get to the hospital.

"I was shaking, terrified, alone until the rest of the family could get there. I prayed to God with everything asking please don't take him, his kids need him," said Angela.

Despite efforts from his friends to pull him out and CPR from emergency crews, Nelson didn't make it.

Sgt. Matt Clifford responded to the scene at the New York Canal. He says playing in the canal water is a terrible and tragic mistake too many people make.

"They're very swift, a lot of hazards not meant for people to access," said Clifford.

Clifford says the water is deep - 25 feet in some places - and very difficult to get out of. Despite the fact that people have surfed in the canal waters for years, it's simply not safe.

Nelson's family also wants to warn people of the danger that lies under the fast moving water that can so quickly take a life.

"He was an amazing, amazing man," said Angela.

Family members say he was a good father to his children, all under the age of five.

His family has set up a fund to pay for funeral expenses and care for his children. Donations can be made to the Michael Nelson Memorial Fund at any US Bank in the Treasure Valley.


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