Man, 22, Drowns After Diving Into Raging River to Save Child Despite Not Being Able to Swim

Victor Mozqueda jumped into a river at Sequoia National Park to save a 5-year-old boy who fell in

Photo: GoFundMe

A 22-year-old man has been hailed as a hero after he selflessly leaped into a roaring river and saved a boy who had fallen in before he tragically succumbed to the river’s strong current.

When 5-year-old Vincent Gonzalez fell into a river while walking with his family at Sequoia National Park in California, Victor Mozqueda — a friend of the family who was visiting the park with them — quickly jumped to the boy’s rescue, even though he didn’t know how to swim.

According to a GoFundMe set up to raise funds for his funeral, Mozqueda was knocked down several times as he fought back the water, and he was able to lift Vincent above his head long enough to hand him off to his father, who pulled him ashore.

“He never let go of him even when they went down under the currents a few times,” a description on the GoFundMe page reads of the June 23 incident. “The last effort he did was to throw Vincent out of the strong current so that his father could barely grab him.”

Though Vincent’s parents and two nearby fishermen tried to save Mozqueda, they couldn’t locate him when he was swept away after the rescue. Mozqueda’s brother-in-law, Ivan Gonzalez, confirmed to KTLA that Mozqueda did not know how to swim.

According to the news station, it took Park Rangers and authorities from the Tulare County Fire Department and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department about two hours to recover Mozqueda’s body.

“He didn’t deserve to do die like that,” Mozqueda’s sister, Maria, told KTLA. “He didn’t.”

Vincent’s father, with help from a fisherman, was able to resuscitate his son by performing CPR. Vincent was then flown by medical personnel to a nearby hospital where he was treated in the ICU until his release on Monday.

Mozqueda’s death is one of two to occur at Sequoia National Park in just the last two weeks, KTLA reports. The earlier incident also involved someone jumping into the river to save a child.

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Park officials told KTLA that families should be cautious while walking near the river, as rocks become slick near the water’s edge.

The GoFundMe page, set up by Vincent’s family, has since raised $28,000 from almost 300 donors in just three days, surpassing its original $25,000 goal.

“He is Vincent’s Angel and a hero to all of us forever,” the description says. “We will forever be [grateful] for his courage, bravery and unselfish act. We will always miss you Victor and you will forever live in our hearts.”

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