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Manjeet Singh died last week while trying to save 8-year-old Samantha Cruz-Pedro from Kings River in Reedley, California

By Jason Duaine Hahn
August 12, 2020 04:54 PM
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Samantha Cruz
Credit: GoFundMe

A young girl rescued along with two other children from a California river has died nearly a week after the accident, which also claimed the life of a 29-year-old man who attempted to help.

Samantha Cruz-Pedro and two children were swimming in Kings River in Reedley on Aug. 5 when they were caught in a strong current. While the other children made it safely to shore, 8-year-old Cruz-Pedro spent at least 15 minutes underwater before being rescued, KFSN reported.

On Tuesday, Cruz-Pedro was taken off life support at Valley Children’s Hospital and died a short time later, according to the outlet. She had also recently been diagnosed with COVID-19, CBS affiliate KGPE reported.

A GoFundMe set up for the family this week is hoping to raise money for Cruz-Pedro's funeral.

"Samantha was disconnected from her artificial respirator today," a description on the donation page reads, according to a translator. "She spent seven days fighting for her life."

Cruz-Pedro's parents — Crecenciano Cruz and Mireida Pedro — are both farmworkers and have been out of work since the accident, according to the page, which has raised more than $1,700 as of Wednesday afternoon.

Their daughter's death is now one more tragedy that has befallen those involved in the accident at Kings River.

Manjeet Singh
Manjeet Singh
| Credit: GoFundMe

Manjeet Singh, a Good Samaritan, drowned while trying to rescue the children from the water. According to KFSN, it took rescue personnel more than half an hour to locate Singh and retrieve him from the river. His body was reportedly found next to brush a short distance from shore.

In the days following the accident, the 29-year-old was praised across social media for his heroics.

"It just isn't fair this brave young man did everything he could to save her life and died in helping someone in need," one Twitter user wrote. "God bless his soul."

"A truly selfless action from a caring man," another wrote. "So sorry to see it ended so tragically for both families."

A GoFundMe has been set up to raise money to send Singh's body to India, where his family lives. Singh had moved from India to central California to start a trucking business and has just completed his first day of trucking school the day of the accident, KFSN reported.

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Singh and his brother-in-law had taken jet skis out to the river to celebrate that day, and he had tried rescuing Cruz-Pedro by using his turban as a life-line before jumping into the water, according KGPE.

A Change.org petition has been created to rename the area where the accident occurred to Manjeet Singh Memorial Beach. It has so far received 2,120 signatures out of the 2,500 needed.