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U.S. boy, 10, dies ‘a hero’ after saving sister from drowning in river

Ricky Lee Sneve, 10, is shown in this handout photo. Sneve family/GoFundMe

Family and friends are mourning a South Dakota boy as a heroic big brother who sacrificed his life for his sister after a fishing trip with their dad took a tragic turn.

Ricky Lee Sneve, 10, jumped into the Big Sioux River with his father after the boy’s three younger siblings fell into the water Saturday evening, the family told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader newspaper. The father, Chad Sneve, rescued two of the children, while Ricky managed to push his sister to shore.

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Ricky did not make it to shore with his younger sister, and his body was ultimately found underwater several hours later.

“He saved his sister’s life,” the boy’s mother, Nicole Eufers, told the Argus Leader.

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Ricky was the eldest of the four children in the boat, NBC News reports. It was not clear how or why his three siblings fell in the water.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office launched a rescue operation at 7 p.m. on Saturday. They announced at 10:30 p.m. that a dive team had found the boy’s body.

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Chad Sneve said his boy was the type of person to do anything for anyone.

“He was generous, kind and special in more ways than I can begin to explain,” Sneve said. “He was my everything, and he touched everyone he encountered.”

Eufers described Ricky as her “best friend” and the eldest of her four children. She added that he had a total of five siblings.

The boy loved outdoor activities, including fishing and four-wheeling.

“He taught me how to love and appreciate life. He never failed to amaze me,” Eufers said.

A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than US$28,000 to cover the boy’s funeral expenses.

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