A missing boater who drowned at Cartwright Park's Sunshine Lake in Weatherford Wednesday has been found, authorities say.
Weatherford police tweeted Thursday morning that the drowning victim had been recovered and that the medical examiner was being called to the scene to confirm the man's identity.
Police were called to the park at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday after 20-year-old Abdallah Ali Busoul, who couldn't swim, fell out of an inflatable dinghy when he stood up to put on life preserver, police said.
A man boating with Busoul jumped into the water to help him, but was unable to rescue the man.
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During the struggle, the dinghy drifted away. Police said a witness heard the men yelling and tried to save them, but only found one of the men above water.
Authorities searched the lake for Busoul Wednesday night but were unable to find him. They resumed the search at about 6:30 a.m. Thursday.
The victim’s father, Ali Busoul, said a family friend with a boat called him two nights ago and invited his son to go fishing.
“He told me he’d have life jackets and all these things, and I told him, ‘Don’t take my kids on the water. They don’t swim,’” said Ali Busoul. “I told the guy, ‘My kid doesn’t know how to swim. Please don’t take my kids.’ And then the next day he did take my kid.”
Ali Busoul didn’t identify the family friend’s name, but said he is very angry that the boater didn’t call him Wednesday night after witnessing the drowning. Thursday morning he said he was devastated that he still had not heard anything from the family friend.
Ali Busoul said his son would still be alive if they put on the life jackets before getting onto the lake.
“If they put it on life jackets to stay safe, they should all put it on before they go in, not after they enter the water," Busoul said. "I feel like I am dying. I am dying after this. I don’t know what to do."
“He was a great guy; a big-hearted guy. He respected everybody,” said Abdallah’s brother, Sammy Busoul. “He was full of life; a happy guy. He loved life.”
Cartwright Park remains closed during the search and recovery.
Tips for Safe Swimming This Summer
- Bring a buddy: don't swim alone even at public pools or lifeguarded beaches.
- Never leave young children unattended near water and never trust a child's life with another child.
- Establish a Water Watcher to supervise children in the water. This person should NOT be reading, using a smartphone or otherwise distracted.
- Young children and inexperienced swimmers should always wear U.S. Coast Guard-Approved life jackets.
- Establish rules, and always enforce them. Don't let children play around drains or suction fittings. Also, don't let children have breath-holding competitions.
- Don't assume children will use good judgment around water.
- Store and secure small toys away from the water when not in use so they don't attract a small child.
- Be aware: Cold temperatures, currents, and jagged rocks at rivers and lakes can make water dangerous.
- Always wear a life jacket on a boat. Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
- Don't drink and swim. Alcohol impairs balance, coordination, and judgement.
- Sign up for swimming lessons if you've never had them.
- Always swim in areas supervised by lifeguards where available.
- Learn how to perform CPR on adults and children.
CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign is urging parents and kids to go to take the Pool Safely Pledge before they go in or near the water.
(Source: Red Cross, CPSC)
Water Safety Tips for Inside the Home
- Never leave small children alone near any container of water.
- Keep bathroom doors closed and secure toilet lids with lid locks.
- Never leave a baby alone in a bath for any reason. Get what you need before running water, and take the child with you if you must leave the room.
- Warn babysitters or caregivers about the dangers of water and emphasize the need to constantly supervise young children.
- Make sure small children cannot leave the house through pet doors or unlocked doors to reach pools or hot tubs.
Preventing Tragedy in the Water
Drowning Doesn't Look Like it Does in the Movies
NBC 5's Jeff Smith contributed to this report.