By: Amaya Flaherty-Lewis
NEWS / FEATURES
A 17-year-old named Christian Burgos is being hailed as a hero because he saved a mother and son from nearly drowning in Virgina Key. He died Wednesday, the 2nd of October, at 1:58 p.m., according to a spokesperson with Jackson Memorial Hospital. He’d been in a coma since the incident had occurred, on the 1st of October. A 25-year-old mother, Elvia Venegas, was teaching her 9-year-old son, Maynor Montez, how to swim and they were both whisked away by the strong currents, according to officials. Christian Burgos saw them struggling to swim back so he jumped in to help. He rescued the young child first before saving Venegas. As she and her son swam back to safety, Burgos got caught up in the current. Thanks to two bystanders, he was pulled out of the water. But by then, he was unconscious and not breathing, so the paramedics had begun CPR. He was then transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital, in critical condition. The mother was also transported to the hospital. Maynor Montez said, “Thank you for helping us, you’re a kind man.” Once transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital, he’d been in the coma since the incident. His family members were deciding if they should take him off life support. Burgos’ mother, Maria Del Carmen Avendano had said, “He risked his life to save another, I thank God for what he did but it’s painful to see him suffering.” His girlfriend, Mayte Padilla expressed similar sentiments, “He’s an amazing person.” she told WSVN News 7, “What he did, I’m so proud of him.” Burgos’ cousin Nelly Alvado said, “He’s always caring about other people. So I know that he didn’t think twice to go and help the woman and her child.” He was a senior at Booker T. Washington High School, and is being remembered by his teachers and classmates. “He’s going to leave a legacy to his peers to follow in his footsteps,” a teacher at Booker T. Washington High School, Dr. Nelson Fernandez, said to WSVN News 7. Miami-Dade Schools Supt. Alberto Carvalho also paid tribute to him with, “This was a selfless act of heroism and he should be recognized in our community and we should join in prayers for this remarkable young man.” He told CBS Miami. A GoFundMe page was set up to help Burgos’ family with funeral expenses. They are also hoping the funds will help Burgos’ father come to the U.S. for the funeral since he’d been deported back to Nicaragua a year ago. He will be missed and praised for his act of heroism, and remembered for and as such. He will not only be missed by his family, but as well by his community. A link to the GoFundMe is below. On the GoFundMe, it states, “Anything you can help us with will be greatly appreciated! Everything will be to pay for all medical expenses.” At Burgos’ school, Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, classmates spelled out the word “hero” outside of the school. This was done as a tribute to him. Miami-Dade school chief Alberto M. Carvalho said, “Think twice before you criticize today’s youth. There are heroes amongst them.” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Florida Senator Rick Scott, and Miami’s congressional delegation have given their support to his family by allowing the father to return to Miami for his son’s funeral on a humanitarian ground.