A 34-year-old mother from northwest Albertais dead after trying to rescue her five-year-old daughter from cold, rushingwaterina ditch, police announced Thursday.

Spirit River RCMP saidAngelina O'Rourke and herdaughterwere waiting at the intersection of their acreage driveway and Highway 49Monday afternoon for an older sister to come home from school when the five-year-old fell into the ditch.

The mother tried to rescue the girl, but also fell into the water.

Both werecarried awayin the springrunofftoward the entrance ofa 15-metre-long culvert.The daughter was carried into the culvert and out the other side, but themother became lodged inside.

Police said the little girl walked back to the house and dialled 911, telling the dispatcher that she was wet, cold and alone.

Sgt. Guy Landreville said the little girl couldn't explain what had happened to her mother.

"We are only speculating that she was in shock," he said.

When police arrived at the acreage, about 20 kilometres west of Spirit River, the nine-year-oldsister had arrived at home. The girls explained they couldn't find their mother and police searched the home, but left after the girl's father and aunt arrived.

The girl's father, who had told police his wife was probably checking on their cattle, searched the property andfound hernearthe culvert. He performed CPR with the help of passing motorists, but could not revive his wife.

Landreville saidO'Rourke was in the water forat least an hour, buteven ifshehad beendiscovered right away, she likely would not have survived.