Hero dad who survived 9/11 drowns after saving kids from capsized raft
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A 43-year-old man who survived 9/11 has been described as 'incredible' after he drowned while trying to save children who had fallen off a raft.
Luke Laidley had been boating on Lake Michigan, near Centennial Park Beach in Winnetka, Illinois, on 4 July when the raft carrying children behind the boat flipped over.
The children were reported to be wearing life jackets, but Laidley jumped into the lake to try and help those who were struggling and ended up going underwater himself in the process.
The dad-of-three was pulled back onto the boat and given CPR before being taken to hospital in serious condition. In spite of the efforts to save him, Laidley sadly passed away a short time later.
It was Laidley's second day on the job with Morgan Stanley, the largest tenant in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center, when the tragedy took place.
After surviving the attack at just 21-years-old, Laidley wrote: "I encourage all of us to count our blessings each and every day. Give of yourself and expect nothing in return. And become part of something that is greater than yourself."
Laidley's family remembered him as 'a true family man to his core, not only with his own wife and kids, but an incredible brother to his 5 siblings, in-laws, and uncle to 17 nieces and nephews'.
"His smile lit up the room. He exuded positivity and perseverance with everything he did. He loved deeply and truly with all his heart," the statement continued.
"Luke lived his life guided by his experiences and he had several that allowed him to bestow compassion, love, inspiration, and leadership to others. He lived a hero's song.
"Luke Laidley embraced and lived this belief to the end on July 4, 2023 where he risked his life for the children who were struggling when their tube flipped on Lake Michigan."
The family also revealed that Laidley's death will 'serve a greater purpose' as his organs will be donated.
"A life lived with purpose. A life lived to serve for others. A life lived as a hero," the family said.
Laidley is survived by his wife Lauren, who he had been married to for nearly 10 years, his children, aged seven, five and three, and his remaining family members.