A Filipino family based in Canada is grieving after 53-year-old and father of four Arnulf Salazar drowned while rescuing his son with autism. The family was at Chehalis Lake in British Columbia, Canada for a family picnic, when they noticed that 10-year-old Zac started drifting away.
Image: Arnulf Salazar with his kids. Photo from the Salazar family’s GoFundMe page.
According to Zsalve, Salazar’s 18-year-old daughter, the water in the lake was shallow, but they were unaware that there was a sudden drop. Salazar quickly came to his son’s rescue but struggled to pull him to shore. A man named Nick McCleary noticed the commotion, and jumped in the water to help. Salazar was able to hand McCleary his son, but failed to swim back himself.
“When I got to the man and boy, the man passed me the boy…I told him that I had him, I’ve got him,” McCleary said in an interview. “I was just so out of breath, I couldn’t go back anymore,” he said. “I really wish I could have done more. He was a father of four. I’m a dad myself.”
A fundraiser was set up by the family. Zsalve wrote on the GoFundMe page:
It incredibly hurts my heart writing this. This fundraiser is to support my family for this tragic incident that occurred on July 17, 2021.
Arnulf Salazar (53) was an amazing father to 4, husband, brother and friend.
While visiting Chehalis lake for a family picnic, he noticed my younger brother which is diagnosed with non verbal autism was drowning as he drifted too deep, he hurriedly went to save him. Unfortunately, the current of the freezing water pulled him to 20ft below for at least 20 mins after he rescued my brother ultimately taking his life.
The collected Funds will be used to support my family through this tremendous loss. (Burial expenses, the needs of my younger special needs brother and more)
Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate all the kind words, support and prayers. Thank you for all the kindness and God bless. We sincerely thank you for everything,
The Salazar Family
Our thoughts and prayers go to the Salazar family.