BARROW COUNTY, Ga. - The family of an 11-year-old boy said the body of the child has been recovered a day after going under in a Barrow County pond.
Andrei Lurco, his 9-year-old brother, and another boy were on a sinking paddle boat in a neighborhood pond near Hancock Bridge Road around 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
"Water was going into the little boat so he jumped in the water to at least save the other two boys," a family member told News Radio 106’7’s Christy Hutchings.
Officials said Lurco jumped off, but didn’t make it back to shore. He was not wearing a floatation device.
"School ended yesterday, and they went down there to celebrate with a little swim," according to Scott Dakin from Barrow County Emergency Services. "And it, unfortunately, got bad."
Rescue crews spent the evening searching the pond, but were forced to call it off due to the lack of daylight. The search resumed around 7 a.m. with sonar equipment and specialized dive teams. The search lasted most of the day.
"He saved the little boys," said a family member who described how the boy risked his life for the others. "He wanted to save the other two little boys from the boat where they were so he jumped in the water and he tried because water was going in the little boat."
The family of the 11-year-old boy said they are heartbroken.
"We were all in shock. We couldn't believe it. It's still hard to believe."
"He was great, not enough to say. I cannot explain."
"His last words were ‘Please help me, God!’ He was trying to swim back, he was trying to survive," said a family member. "The mother prayed the whole night."
The family said Lurco was a great kid who loved school and was very respectful. He wanted to grow up to be a doctor.
"He was a good boy, listened to parents. He liked to go to school. He really liked it. It's hard for me I can't do it," his family member said.
An online account has been set up to help the family raise funds to bury their child.