Nez Perce Elder Dies After Saving Grandson From Drowning


Elmer Crow, from a Facebook memorial page.
  • Elmer Crow, from a Facebook memorial page.

The Nez Perce Tribe is mourning the loss of a tribal elder after he drowned while saving his 7-year-old grandson.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that 69-year-old Elmer Crow, Jr. drowned at the Buffalo Eddy of the Snake River on the evening of July 26. That's where witnesses said two of Crow's grandsons were in the water at the popular swimming area. But the children were reportedly sucked underwater by the wake of a jet boat, and that's when Crow jumped in. The older of the two children was able to swim to shore; the younger was saved by Crow, who lifted the boy onto his shoulders to keep his head above water.

Witnesses said the 7-year-old was pulled from the water by nearby boaters. They reportedly returned to retrieve Crow but, the Tribune reports, "efforts to revive him were unsuccessful."

"I am so proud of my father's final act of heroism that I just have to share it with the world," wrote Jeremy Crow, on a memorial Facebook page. "His final act of lifting my nephew above the water for those last few moments was what saved his grandson's life but cost him his own."

A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 1 in Lapwai.