A Calgary mother is grieving the loss of her teen son who is missing and presumed drowned Saturday in the Bow River west of Calgary.
RCMP confirm that they are searching for 16-year-old Blessing Paul east of the Seebe Dam.
Tim Duxbury witnessed the incident. He was with his brother and brother-in-law on Saturday afternoon when he watched the two men set off to swim to the other side of the Bow River.
They were joined by Blessing Paul, who had come with another group of friends.
“Everything was going fine, and then they got to the current,” said Duxbury on Sunday.
Duxbury said his brother-in-law made it to the other side but his brother started to struggle in the current and so did Blessing.
Read more: Calgary man dies in Bow River
There was another group of people in the area who Duxbury describes as strong swimmers.
“The one girl who I’m super thankful was there, grabbed my brother and pulled him out. The guy (Blessing), didn’t make it. We watched him go down and he never came back up,” said Duxbury, choking back tears.
He said another bystander also tried to reach Blessing.
“He freaked out, he was so upset at himself that he didn’t get (Blessing) but no one can blame him. He tried so hard. They just went there for a day of fun like everybody else and ended up having to save my brother’s life and now this,” Duxbury said.
“They tried. They really tried.”
Duxbury credits the woman who leaped in the river with saving his brother’s life
“If she wasn’t there he would’ve died,” Duxbury said.
Blessing’s mom describes her son as “the sweetest boy”. Elizabeth Paul says the 16-year-old played football at Notre Dame high school thought she worked too hard and said he wanted to get a job to help pay the bills.
“Such a sweet boy. He was the sweetest guy. He never gave me trouble. Why would God take my son?,” Elizabeth said through tears on Sunday.
Several people have died over the years at the popular location which is difficult to access.
RCMP and a dive team were back at the scene on Sunday searching the river. Officers say it’s a challenging location for rescuers.
“There are two issues,” said Cpl. Troy Savinkoff with the Cochrane RCMP. “You are on private land. It should end there. You are between two dams.
“The water flows change and dramatically it’s typically not a safe place to be cliff diving or swimming across.”