The father screamed for help until kayakers in the area paddled towards him and rescued the little girl.
A father from Tennessee spent his last moments doing whatever he could to keep his daughter alive before he sank into the waters of the Percy Priest Lake. The 40-year-old man named Jose Manuel Alatorre was having a fun outing with his 6-year-old daughter before both of them fell off their jet ski and into the lake.
"An eyewitness told crews he was loading his boat into the water when he saw the man and his daughter sitting on a jet ski. The man hit the gas to the unit and he and his daughter fell off the back of it into the water," said a statement released by the Rutherford County EMA on Facebook.
It was reported that neither the father nor the daughter was wearing a life jacket at the time. Somehow, Jose was able to tread the water and stay afloat long enough to save his daughter's life. The father screamed for help until kayakers in the area paddled towards him and rescued the little girl.
Although the child was brought safely back to the shore, her father did not make it and drowned to his death. "The boater went to the area where the man disappeared and used his fish finder and jumped into the water a few times but was unable to make contact," added the statement.
According to PEOPLE, divers searched the lake and pulled out Jose's body before 11 pm on the night of his drowning, which was Saturday, September 4, 2021.
As for the young girl, who was the very last person with Jose before he lost his life, she was reunited with her mother after being rescued from the scene.
Following the father's tragic death, a GoFundMe page was set up for the family to raise funds for his funeral service.
"He paid the ultimate price saving his daughter’s life," said the message on the fundraising page. "His last act of selflessness does not surprise me. Manuel put others’ lives in front of his own and helped so many people during his 40 years of life on this earth. He was a great father, uncle, son, brother, and friend."
"This is a tough loss for everyone who knew him. He would have known what to do and say during situations like this. He once told me, 'whenever times get hard, you have to have an Ace up your sleeve,'" the message continued. "My friend, we are all trying to pull that 'Ace' after hearing about your departure."
So far, the page has raised about $9,130 to help Jose's family give him a fitting farewell.
An investigation is currently being carried out into the jet ski accident. Jose's death has prompted the Rutherford County Fire Rescue (RCFR) and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to remind people about being extra careful when they are in water.
Rutherford County EMA said on Facebook, "RCFR and TWRA remind all citizens to wear personal floatation devices when participating in recreational activities on the water."
Cover image source: GoFundMe