Nabin Bhandari and Melvin Guerra Salvador died in the Tuesday night incident

By Rachel DeSantis
April 01, 2021 01:15 PM
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An Ohio teenager and a Good Samaritan trying to help save him died after they both were pulled from the Delaware Dam on Tuesday, according to authorities.

Nabin Bhandari, 17, was walking with two friends on a ledge in the water upstream from the dam around 6:30 p.m. when the ledge ended suddenly, and all three boys fell in, Delaware County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Tracy Whited tells PEOPLE.

Witnesses helped pull two of the teenagers — both 18-year-old high school students — from the water, but Bhandari remained stuck.

At that point, Whited says, Good Samaritan Melvin Guerra Salvador, 20, jumped into the 45-degree water to help.

"It's like a washing machine," bystander James Aspery, who helped with the rescue, told ABC/Fox affiliate WSYX of the current. "It's just going to suck you under there."

Rescue crews arrived on the scene to search for Bhandari and Salvador, and after about 45 minutes, they were found and rushed to the hospital, where they were pronounced dead, Whited says.

The other two teenagers who were rescued immediately after falling in were also taken to local hospitals. Both have since been released.

Bhandari was a junior at Westerville Central High School, and had plans to enlist in the military, school district spokesman Greg Viebranz told the Columbus Dispatch.

"We are saddened to learn about the passing of Nabin Bhandari and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. We also extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the individual who attempted to save him during this unfortunate accident," the Westerville City School District said in a statement to NBC affiliate WCMH. "Despite our schools being on spring break this week, we are working to make counseling staff available to anyone needing additional support to process this loss to our school community. We will share those details directly with families and staff once they are finalized."

Bhandari's family sought refugee status in the United States from Nepal about 10 years ago, and his parents were in Nepal at the time of his death, Sudarshan Pyakurel, director of the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio, told the Dispatch.

A GoFundMe page arranged for Salvador's family has since raised more than $5,000, while a page for Bhandari's family has pulled in $1,300.. Those interested in donating can do so here and here.