29-Year-Old Man Dies Trying to Save 3 Children From California River: 'Our Hero'
A 29-year-old man died after attempting to rescue three children from a California river, and a GoFundMe is hoping to raise funds to send his body back to his family in India.
Manjeet Singh was with his brother-in-law at Kings River in Reedley on Wednesday evening when he noticed three children being overtaken by the river's current, according to KFSN.
Singh — who had just completed his first day of truck driving school hours earlier — rushed into the water to help them, and drowned during his efforts.
"He went in to try to help them," Reedley Police Commander Marc Ediger told the news station. "[He] unfortunately went under pretty quickly and never came back up."
Two of the children eventually made it back to shore, while an 8-year-old girl spent 15 minutes underwater before being rescued. She is currently on life support at a local hospital, KFSN reported.
"I think the kids waded out too far and started being carried by the current under the bridge," Ediger told the station.
A witness to the incident told CBS affiliate KGPE that he helped pull one of the three children to safety.
"I [saw] the girls yelling, and I know they were playing, but they were going under the bridge already, so I came running down the bridge, and I [saw] them get one girl out, and I was trying to catch up to the other little girl," said the witness, who did not provide his name.
It took rescue personnel more than half an hour to locate Singh and retrieve him from Kings River, KFSN reported. His body was found next to brush a short distance from shore.
A GoFundMe was set up on Friday morning to raise money to send Singh's body to India, where his family lives and from where he reportedly moved to the U.S. two years ago.
It has since raised over $11,000 toward its $31,000 goal.
"[Singh] saw the children being [pulled] by the current and jumped in to save them... [and] lost his life trying to save the children," a description on the donation page reads.
"He was the breadwinner of his family. His family lives in India," the description continues. "His parents are elders and he came to the United States to help them financially and live the American Dream. May Waheguru Ji Bless you All! Together, let's pray for MR. SINGH of Fresno....OUR HERO."
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According to KFSN, the parents of the hospitalized 8-year-old girl are trying to fly her siblings from Mexico to California to say their goodbyes.
The tragic accident comes just days after 18-year-old Jaerson Alvarez and 17-year-old Wilmer Alexi Rodriguez were killed while trying to rescue a 5-year-old girl from Trinity River in Texas. The girl was eventually rescued, but her 25-year-old father suffered injuries and was airlifted to a Houston trauma center.