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A 17-year-old boy who tried to rescue a mother and her child from drowning on a Miami beach has died, hospital officials and family said Wednesday.
Christian Burgos, a high school student from Miami, went into the ocean to save a 25-year-old mother and her 9-year-old son on Monday after they were swept away by strong currents in Virginia Key, a barrier island in Miami. As Christian attempted to save the mom and son, he also got caught in the currents, according to NBC Miami.
The mother and child were able to get out of the water safely, but Christian was pulled out of the water unconscious by two bystanders, the local outlet reported. Paramedics took Christian to the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where he had been in a coma since Monday afternoon.
Family and hospital officials told NBC Miami on Wednesday that Christian had died. Jackson Memorial confirmed Christian's passing to NBC News on Thursday morning.
“He risked his life to save another life,” Christian’s mother, Carmen Avendaño, said in Spanish to Telemundo Miami, saying she was proud of her son but deeply heartbroken.
Christian’s father, Misael Burgos, was deported from the U.S. to Nicaragua six months ago, Telemundo reports, and was not able to visit his son in the hospital before he died. Burgos is hoping to get a humanitarian visa to be able to return to Miami for his son’s funeral.
“I don’t know why God did this,” he said in Spanish to Telemundo.
Family and friends gathered in the Miami neighborhood of Little Havana on Wednesday night to mourn Christian's death and process their loss.
“It’s bittersweet because even though he did a good deed, we lost somebody we cared deeply for,” Christian’s cousin Claudia Escobar told NBC Miami.
Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade schools, which Christian attended, paid tribute to the teen in a tweet. He said he joined the school community "in mourning the passing of a kind & giving teen who left an indelible mark on those who knew him. One whose courageous actions will live on forever. Sincerest thoughts are w/Christian’s family."