Family remembers Falls Park Hero - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Family remembers Falls Park Hero

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One year ago this week, Falls Park was the scene of a dramatic rescue and a double tragedy.

A 6-year-old boy fell into the water and two people jumped in to save him.

The boy made it out of the water. But his older sister, Madison Wallace, and a passerby named Lyle Eagle Tail Drowned. 

Eagle Tail was only 28-year-old when he died trying to save a stranger.

Family members say his smile lit up every room he walked into. He saw the beauty in everything and was a friend to everyone.

For Eagle Tail's aunt and uncle, the death of their nephew still feels like a dream.

"You expect him to come around the corner. You expect him to say 'hey I'm here. It was very difficult," said Clarissa Eagle Tail, Lyle's aunt.

They say Lyle would give you the shirt off his back if you were cold, food to eat if you were hungry. This heroic act came as no surprise.

"He heard help and he came to the rescue," said Clarissa.

"I'm going to see him one day when I go to the other side. I'm going to shake his hand, give him a hug and tell him you did good," said Samuel Eagle Tail, Lyle's uncle.

Lyle's aunt and uncle are still overwhelmed by the rescue effort and support from everyone in the community.

"They stayed all through the night and then when they could not go no more -- to rest -- they got right back up and did it," said Clarissa.

"I was watching them dive into the water. I know that they were tired but the divers and the whole crew, they just kept on it," said Samuel.

They hope Lyle and Madison will be the last lives the Big Sioux River claims.

"I hope we're sending a message that yeah everybody loves Mother Nature but it can also be very dangerous," said Clarissa.

Clarissa and Samuel make their way to Falls Park for every holiday to honor their nephew Lyle.

"I hope maybe something can be installed here -- a story, so when people read that they'll know, these two heroes tried to save a little boy," said Clarissa.

In honor of Lyle Eagle Tail and Madison Wallace, there will be a memorial at Falls  Park Friday at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to come and celebrate the lives of two young heroes.

Madison's family has moved away but members of Lyle's family will be at the memorial.

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