A young life taken far too soon, the tragic drowning of 16-year-old Getayawkal (Getu) Mamo has left many devastated.
Tania Maneso, a family friend, says the Ethiopian community in south-central Saskatchewan is heartbroken over the loss.
Maneso says Getu, the eldest son of Moma Sehlamariam and Tigist Melkamu, had a bright future ahead of him.
The family recently immigrated to Canada and settled in Moose Jaw, Sask.
Getu reportedly drowned while he was hanging out with his friends at Wakamow Park on Friday evening.
Maneso has organized a GoFundMe page asking for donations to help the family with funeral costs.
“I think that it’s going to mean a lot to them,” Maneso said.
“They’re good people, and it will mean a lot to them to know that there’s people who don’t even know them and care enough to help out,” she added.
She says the support will help the family have one less thing to worry about as they try to recover from this tragic loss.
Maneso says Getu was very involved in his church and sports.
“They’re a close family, and I know that he was an athlete — loved soccer,” Maneso said in an interview on Monday.
Around 5:40 p.m. Friday, Moose Jaw police, fire and EMS responded to a report of a youth who had been swimming in the Wakamo Valley.
Police say despite repeated efforts, the teen could not be immediately located. Once the boy was located by emergency services, he was taken to hospital in Regina by STARS Air Ambulance.
Rod Montgomery, the Moose Jaw fire chief, says now that summer weather is here and more people will be out swimming, safety needs to be top of mind.
“Number one: know your abilities. If you’re not skilled at water, you should be with people, adult supervision if there’s children involved. If you’re more than an arm’s length away, you’ve gone too far,” Montgomery says.
As of Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe page had raised more than $10,000.