Drowning victim remembered as bright, well-mannered man - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff


Drowning victim remembered as bright, well-mannered man

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Rescue crews recovered a young man's body Sunday morning from a pond near Independence Boulevard and Chestnut Avenue.

According to Kansas City police, the man was swimming in Kessler Park about 7:30 a.m. Sunday with three of his friends.

That was when he began having difficulty and failed to resurface. At its deepest point, the pond is about 12 to 15 feet deep. There are signs clearly noting that swimming is prohibited in the pond.

"We had at least two to three individuals out there taking a swim in the water. One became distressed, the other friend tried to help him out but was unable to get him out," said Battalion Chief James Garrett, a fire department spokesman.

Crews located the victim's body shortly after 10 a.m. The man was in his late teens and was visiting the Kansas City metro area.

He had attended morning prayers at a Kansas City area mosque and was scheduled to speak at the mosque later Monday.

Those who knew the man known as "Yusuf" described him as a very religious young man who was courteous to others. He had lived in Kansas City and moved to North Dakota with his family about six months ago. Due to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, he was visiting friends and relatives in the Kansas City area this weekend.

"This is one of the brightest and well-mannered young guys I've ever met," said Omar Abdullahi of the Al-Huda Center.  "He's different when we're talking his age. Not only in our congregation, also in our community, he was a well-known young guy so everybody was shocked."

Kansas City firefighters and police along with a Lee's Summit rescue and recovery team assisted in the recovery efforts.

"It's like diving in chocolate milk. You can't see your hand in front of your face," said Dewayne Duhon, a member of the Lee's Summit underwater rescue and recovery team. "The last thing you want to happen is for somebody to decide to do what is natural and that's to go after them."

Those familiar with the park were surprised anyone would swim in it.

"It's kind of surprising. I haven't seen anyone drowned up here before," said Michael Utterbeck, who visits the pond every week.

Utterbeck says he would never allow his kids to swim in it.

"It is just a bad lake. You don't know what is under the water. There are snapping turtles and other things that could pose a danger to them," he said.

Authorities warn others that when they are out in the water, the first thing they need to remember is to always wear a life preserver.

"They need to stay out of the water if they don't know what is there. They need to make sure they understand their limitations," Duhon said.

Duhon also recommends taking a water safety course before hitting the water as well.

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