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Mother says she tried desperately to save 5-year-old son after canoe tipped over waterfall

William Egold was only five, weighing less than 40 pounds, but the woman he thought of as his grandmother says William's heart was as big as his smile. (Martha Collins)

AUGUSTA, Maine (WGME) – The mother of a 5-year-old says she desperately tried to save her son, after he fell into the water.

Game wardens say the woman and child were in a canoe, when it went over a waterfall in North Vassalboro.

The little boy died.

William Egold was only five, weighing less than 40 pounds, but the woman he thought of as his grandmother says William's heart was as big as his smile.

Martha Collins was too emotional to want her face on camera. She told us William was with his mom, Mollie, two nights ago in a canoe on Outlet Stream in North Vassalboro. Above the waterfall, the water seemed calm, but Mollie told CBS 13, off camera Wednesday, that the canoe got caught in a strong current.

"This is what she wanted to do, give Willie a ride in a canoe,” Collins said. “And she stayed close to shore. But when she got back, right by the dock, where she was about to stop, is where the current grabbed the canoe and took it. And she couldn't control it."

The canoe went over the waterfall. Games wardens say William and his mom were thrown into the water. His mom says she saw William in his life vest floating downstream. She says William got caught in debris beneath the water. Mollie managed to free her son, but they went over a second waterfall before she could get him out to start CPR. He passed away hours later at the hospital.

"Willie was still alive when she pulled him out of the water. He was still alive and breathing," Collins said. "She did everything she could think of, as well as screaming for help. And she did what any mother would do. With every ounce of her being, she tried to save her son."

William and his mom were new to North Vassalboro, but their pastor says William made friends wherever he went.

The funeral for little William will be held in his home church, Church Hill Baptist in Augusta. The family is asking people to not wear black. They want this to be a celebration of William's life.

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