‘He was a hero’: BC father of 4 loses his life and tries to save son at Fraser Valley lake

‘He was a hero’: BC father of 4 loses his life and tries to save son at Fraser Valley lake

VANCOUVER – When one of Arnulf Salazar’s young sons began to plunge into deeper water at Lake Chehalis in BC’s Fraser Valley, the 53-year-old did not hesitate. His bravery was not at all surprising to his 18-year-old daughter, Zsalve.

“He didn’t even think twice about rescuing Zac,” she said. “He ran.”

Salazar was at the lake on July 17 for a family picnic. The father of four from Surrey jumped in and managed to reach 10-year-old Zac, who is autistic and non-verbal.

“It was like missing the moment when Zac was just starting to slip away from us,” Zsalve said, describing how the lake suddenly gets deeper. “Little did we know it was low and it suddenly just fell.”

Nick McCleary, who was just finishing a camping trip by the lake with his own young son and friends, was packing up when he heard shouts near the shore.

“I saw a whole group of people shouting for help and pointing to the water,” he said. “When I looked, I saw a man and a boy fighting.”

McCleary jumped into the water and swam out to the father and son.

“I asked him to give me the boy, and I had a good grip on him. I told the man I had him and I wanted to land him, ”he said. “It looked like he was fine and I looked back a few times.”

McCleary came ashore with the boy, but when he looked again, Salazar was no longer visible.

“I was just so short of breath, I couldn’t go back anymore,” he said. “I really wish I could have done more. He was the father of four. I’m a father myself. ”

Salazar’s daughter said her father was eventually pulled out of the water by a diver who was on scene.

“He strapped on a rock so he could go down, and luckily he got my dad out,” she said. “My family and myself, we did CPR on him for about an hour and a half.”

At the time, Zsalve said rescuers arrived at the remote site, but Salazar did not survive.

“He was a great father,” Zsalve said. “I looked up to him so much. He has inspired me just to keep pushing forward and doing the things I love. ”

Salazar worked as a glazier by cutting and installing glass. His daughter said he could seem strict at first, but was really sweet and very hardworking.

“We had no idea that an incident could occur at all,” she said. “Advice will be, prepare for the worst. Because it’s summer, it’s getting hot. Life vest. ”

Together with his daughter Zsalve, Salazar has a 22-year-old son, and his son Zac has a twin brother, who is also autistic. An online fundraiser has raised donations to help Salazar’s family.

“Words could never express how grateful I am to everyone who supports me and my family,” Zsalve said, adding that she is also grateful to those who even just read what she had written about her father on the fundraising site. . “He was a hero who was gone too soon.”

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