‘She touched many hearts’: Family mourns after woman drowns while livestreaming in Ontario pool

Click to play video: 'Ontario PSW drowns while livestreaming in motel pool'
Ontario PSW drowns while livestreaming in motel pool
WATCH: Ontario PSW drowns while livestreaming in motel pool – Aug 24, 2022

A family is mourning the loss of a young woman after she drowned in a pool in the Township of Chatsworth, just south of Owen Sound, Ont.

In a GoFundMe post, Enock Nyabuto said his eldest sister Hellen Wendy, was “enjoying an afternoon swim when she tragically drowned” on Aug. 18.

Nyabuto said his sister lived in Toronto, but was working a temporary job in Collingwood.

The Ontario Provincial Police said emergency crews responded to a report of a drowning at around 5:44 p.m.

OPP said a woman was pulled from the water and despite life-saving measures, she was pronounced deceased. Police released her identity as 23-year-old Hellen Nyabuto from North York.

Investigators said the incident remains under investigation but is not suspicious in nature.

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According to the GoFundMe page, their family lives in Kisii, Kenya.

“Hellen Wendy was full of life. With a warm smile and a charming heart,” the post read. “Everyone who met Wendy had their spirits lifted. She was passionate about her work and she touched many hearts.”

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According to a CNN report, the tragic incident was caught on camera.

The woman’s father, 56-year-old Nyabuto John Kiyondi, told CNN from his home in Kenya that he watched the video.

“I cried. It is terrible,” he told the outlet.

“She communicated with me two days before she perished. She sounded very fine and I was very happy. She promised me a phone. I didn’t feel anything abnormal,” he said.

According to Nyabuto, the family is seeking donations to repatriate his sister’s body to Nairobi, adding that the cost to do so is approximately $50,000.

“Your generous contributions towards this cause are highly appreciated as we go through this extreme circumstance of losing a loved one,” he wrote.

By Wednesday morning, the post had accumulated more than $47,000 in donations — almost reaching the target amount.

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Alfonce Nyamwaya was a friend of Hellen Wendy Nyabuto. He told Global News he was with her just hours before her death.

Nyamwaya said Nyabuto was working as a personal support worker, and had returned to the Key Motel for a swim to cool down after her shift.

He said Nyabuto was a “young girl” who liked to have fun and use social media.  He said he often saw her posting livestreams on social media sites.

Nyamwaya confirmed Nyabuto was livestreaming at the time of the accident.

He said the loss of Nyabuto is “devastating.”

“It’s really heartbreaking,” he said.

Nyamwaya said she was a “superhero” to her family.  “(Hellen) is really a lovely girl, is a gorgeous girl, is an outgoing girl,” he said. “She loves people very much.”

According to Nyamwaya, Nyabuto was working to support her family back at home in Kenya, including two children for whom she was paying school fees.

“She was a breadwinner in the family,” he explained. “It’s a big loss to the family. It’s a big loss to us as friends.”

Navneet Nagra, the owner of Key Motel called the incident “shocking” and “really tragic.”

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“I watched back on the security camera, and I wish I was there — I would have jumped in,” Nagra said.

Nagra said the pool is up to code, but said it is unsupervised, adding that no one else was around at the time of the incident.

According to Nagra, Nyabuto had been living at the hotel for around 15 days. Nagra said she did not speak to Nyabuto herself during her stay.

Nagra said Nyabuto was in the pool for three hours before she was discovered.

— With files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues

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