Mother and son caught in Matanuska River current found dead

A 29-year-old Anchorage woman and her young son died Tuesday night after they fell into the Matanuska River in Palmer, authorities said.

The 5-year-old boy was playing or walking in the water when he got into deeper water and his mother tried to rescue him, Alaska State Troopers said. Both got swept away by the swift current.

Troopers identified the mother as Amanda Lange and her son as Gabriel Lange.

Other people in the area saw them, and someone called 911 just after 9 p.m. Tuesday, troopers said Wednesday. The accident took place near Matanuska River Park off the Old Glenn Highway.

Searchers found the bodies of the woman and child, according to Ken Barkley, emergency services spokesman for the Mat-Su Borough.

A Palmer-based dive team, troopers helicopter, Palmer Police Department, Life Med, Central EMS, Palmer and Butte fire departments and other volunteer search-and-rescue personnel responded to the scene, troopers said in a dispatch posted late Tuesday.

Amanda Lange had five sons including Gabriel, according to a GoFundMe account set up by the sister of Lange's fiance. The family is seeking help with funeral and living expenses.

Zaz Hollander

Zaz Hollander is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su and is currently an ADN local news editor and reporter. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at