A heroic teen who rushed into the water at a Florida beach to rescue a mother and her young son caught in a riptide on Monday has died.
Cristian Burgos, a 17-year-old student at Booker T. Washington Senior High School in Miami, was on Virginia Key, a barrier island in Biscayne Bay off Miami’s coast, when he noticed Elvia Venegas, 25, and her 9-year-old son struggling to stay afloat, CBS-affiliate WFOR-TV reports.
The teenager swam out and helped the pair make their way toward the shore but ended up getting pulled under by the rough current himself.
Emergency responders pulled Burgos from the bay and performed CPR before rushing him to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he remained in a coma until Wednesday, when he tragically died.
Venegas and her son escaped the incident relatively unscathed.
“If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be alive right now,” the young mom told WFOR-TV. “I am just eternally grateful at this moment. That’s all I can say right now.”
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho hailed Burgos as a “remarkable young man” following his death.
“This was a selfless act of heroism, and he should be recognized in our community,” Carvalho said.
A GoFundMe campaign to help Burgos’s family cover his final expenses has raised more than $36,000, surpassing its $35,000 goal. The teen’s mother, Maria Del Carmen Avenado, is a single mom and his father was recently deported to Nicaragua, according to the fundraising page.
“He’s the best son. He’s the most beautiful person,” Avenado remembered of the victim. “He is a hero.”