2 Boys Drowned When 17-Year-Old Tried to Save His Brother, 6, from Flooded Canal After Hurricane Ian

Tahjir Burrowes, 6, and his 17-year-old brother, Tahjon, were both found dead in a Florida canal on Oct. 5 following the powerful storm

Tahjir Burrowes, Tahjon Burrowes
Photo: GoFundMe (2)

When his little brother wandered out of their family's Florida home following Hurricane Ian, Tahjon Burrowes, 17, raced to find him.

But within hours, both Tahjon and his 6-year-old brother, Tahjir, were found dead in a nearby canal filled with floodwater from the storm.

"I don't know if one could be without the other," their mother, Lachera Burrowes, told NBC News. "[Tahjon] could not stand there and not jump in."

Lachera told the outlet that Tahjir had a severe form of autism and was drawn to water. Hurricane Ian's powerful winds knocked down a fence around their home, allowing young Tahjir to wander off while Lachera and Tahjon were not looking.

When Tahjon discovered that his brother had slipped away, he told his mother before chasing after him. Lachera drove her car to the canal to help look for her son before calling their local police for help.

"I saw nothing," Lachera told NBC News of arriving at the swollen canal. "Quiet."

Later that day, authorities told Lachera both boys had drowned in the canal.

This GOES-16 satellite image taken at 1:01 p.m. EDT and provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Ian over the South Carolina coast

PEOPLE reached out to the Lee County Sheriff's Office for more information on Thursday.

A GoFundMe campaign was created to help Lachera raise money for her sons' funerals, scheduled to take place on Oct. 26.

"I feel sorrow for what she has to endure :( May God bless you auntie," supporter Paliyah Cameron wrote on the page.

The campaign has raised nearly $14,000 as of Thursday afternoon.

According to the Herald-Tribune, officials say more than 100 people died in Florida as a result of Hurricane Ian, which made landfall on Sept. 28 as a Category 4 storm.

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The hurricane was Florida's deadliest since 1935, reports The New York Times, which states at least 54 people died by drowning.

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