A 15-year-old who died in the Sacramento River over the weekend was trying to save his younger brother, the family said.
Amari Quarles jumped in to help his 13-year-old brother, Elijah, who went into the surging river to retrieve a thrown football during a family gathering at Sand Cove Park on Sunday.
“He died a hero. He died to save somebody else’s life, and he lost his in turn,” Amari’s father, James Sashe, told KXTV-TV.
Amari, who loved football and music, had just completed his freshman year at Natomas High School and got straight As this semester, his family said.
“The water is just pulling you and tugging you and dragging you and holding you,” she told the TV station. “And the pressure on my chest as I’m swimming to Elijah, I’m like, I know they’re in trouble.”
A boater got her and Elijah to safety but Amari was swept away.
“I clenched my hand to hold him and this water just rushed and snatched him, just took him away. He was gone,” she said.
Amari’s mother, Marjorie Quarles, said her son “lit up the room when he knew you were upset. He would do anything to make you smile.”
“He was my miracle boy,” she said.
A GoFundMe page to cover funeral costs had raised about $23,000 of its $50,000 goal as of Thursday.
“We continue to urge residents and visitors to please enjoy the beauty of the Yuba from the banks and to resist the urge to enter the river,” the county Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “The water is currently extremely high, cold, fast and far too dangerous to be in.”
Two weeks ago, searchers found the body of a 4-year-old boy in a the Kings River, a day after his 8-year-old sister died when the siblings were swept away by the current.
The children, who were not wearing life jackets, entered the water with their mother and another adult while trying to make their way to climb on a rock near Pine Flat Dam in Fresno County, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.