The dream of helping their families have a better quality of life ended for two Guatemalans after they drowned when they were swept down the Kern Canyon River in Sequoia National Park in California, United States.
The two Guatemalans had arrived at the Sequoia National Park in California to celebrate independence from the United States, on July 4, along with other friends.
The victims were identified as Diego Cobo Bernal, 25, and Samuel Jacinto Raymundo Ramírez, 18, both from Nebaj, Quiché.
Several US media outlets reported that the two Guatemalans and another group of people had come to the Kern Canyon River to enjoy their July 4 break.
Guadalupe Cifuentes, a friend of the victims, told La Opinion that there were 15 people who had reached the river and chose to divide into groups and Samuel and Diego went with four other friends to explore the area.
He said that, apparently because of the heat in the area, the two Guatemalans and two other friends decided to go into the river.
He added that the four were holding hands, but they got into the area where the current goes down with more force.
“The strong current knocked over one of them, and that caused the other three to fall. Two were able to be saved, but Diego and Samuel were literally swallowed by a whirlpool. They say that they only managed to see the fingers of their hands asking for help,” Cifuentes told that media outlet.
José Luis Velasco, Diego’s cousin, told Univisión that the two friends who were saved and the two who did not enter the river tried to help the two Guatemalans, but it was impossible.
Police and firefighters from the area, along with more family, arrived at the scene to support the search for the two Guatemalans, but it was not until July 7 that the bodies were located about seven miles (11 kilometers) from the river. down.
The relatives of the two Guatemalans pointed out that Diego had arrived in the United States 11 months ago and Samuel had already spent 3 years in the country, to which he had migrated together with his father.
Diego Raymundo Velasco, Samuel’s father, said that his son, like the other victim, worked in construction and lived in Los Angeles.
The family said that Diego and Samuel had come to the United States with the hope of getting ahead, building a house in Guatemala and having a better future.
They want to repatriate them
The relatives of the Guatemalans said that when the authorities hand over the bodies they want to repatriate them to Guatemala.
They explained that they have been in talks with the Guatemalan Consulate in Los Angeles, who have offered US$1,000 to each family for repatriation.
The relatives of the victims mention that this amount is not enough to take the bodies to their native Nebaj, so they have asked for help to raise funds.
Another similar case
Three people of Guatemalan origin would have drowned last Sunday, July 3, in Three Mile Slough, in the Sacramento River delta, a popular place to navigate and swim in Sacramento County, California, United States, authorities reported.
News reports from US media reveal that Rio Vista firefighters responded to a call that five adults and a child had fallen into the water near the Three Mile Slough Bridge at 1:22 pm last Sunday.
The family told news outlets that they had camped overnight at the Brannan Island State Recreation Area on the edge of the river delta. That spot is a popular state park that is normally packed with beachgoers during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The report of a sergeant from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, identified as Grassmann, comments that five adults were fishing on the riverbank and a child was swimming, but the minor began to drown in the river and the five adults entered to save him.
Two of the five men managed to rescue the minor alive, but the other three did not come out of the water, so it is believed that they drowned.
Family and friends identified the disappeared as Edwin Rivas, Edwin Pérez and Danilo Solorzano, of Guatemalan origin.