PA Woman Drowns in Lake Erie at Westfield

July 9, 2014 Updated Jul 9, 2014 at 11:12 PM EDT

By John Borsa

...
July 9, 2014 Updated Jul 9, 2014 at 11:12 PM EDT

WESTFIELD, NY (WKBW) - A mother and son were rescued from the waters of Lake Erie on Wednesday afternoon and rushed to the hospital where the mother died.

Christen Stefan, 37, of Bethel Park, PA, drowned while trying to retrieve her son and his friend, who were swimming when both drifted out to deeper waters, according to Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department officials.

Stefan's 9-year-old son Tyler and Benjamin Bignell, 8, of Canonsburg, PA, went out for a swim along a private beach at Shore Haven on an inner tube.

Once the two boys drifted away from shore, Christen Stefan swam out to assist them.

The currents and wind pushed all three to a cove where the shore line is a rocky cliff.

Bignell climbed out of the water, scaling a 30-foot ravine, so he could alert neighbors who called for help.

Christen Stefan and her son continued to float down the shoreline. Both were rescued a few hundred feet away near a campground.

Christen Stefan was pronounced dead at Westfield Memorial Hospital. Her son Tyler remains hospitalized. He is being treated for hypothermia.