MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A father is mourning the loss of his son after frantically trying to save him from drowning.
Seventeen-year-old Benedict Richardson died Friday night. His father, Emmette Richardson, tells WCCO Benedict was swimming with his sister in the indoor pool at their apartment complex.
The accident happened at about 7 p.m. at Plymouth Square Apartments on 37th Avenue North in Plymouth.
“He was just seventeen,” Emmette said. “It’s so sad.”
Emmette spent years working two jobs to bring his son to the United States from Liberia. His dream came true one month ago.
“He was so happy to go to school,” he said.
Two weeks ago, Benedict became a student a Wayzata High School after living in a refugee camp in Liberia his entire life.
“He had a dream,” Emmette said.
Friday night, Emmette came home and his 8-year-old daughter Samantha wanted to go to the pool.
Benedict and Samantha were playing in the shallow end and at some point she noticed he was in the deep end, underwater.
“She just started calling me ‘Oh my brother’s under the water. He’s not coming up.’ I had to go and rescue him with a rescue stick. I started CPR until the others came,” Emmette said. “I tried everything I could. I couldn’t revive him.”
When paramedics arrived, they were also unable to save Benedict.
“I can’t get over it. I couldn’t sleep all last night,” he said.
Emmette says it happened within seconds, and he heard no cries for help or splashing.
“He told me that he could swim,” he said.
The family is heartbroken and trying to cope with the devastating loss.
“Since my son came over, he’s changed my life,” Emmette said. “Right now I’m just confused, I’m really confused. Yeah. It’s terrible.”
Emmette brought his son over with a dream that Benedict would get the education he was unable to receive.
He said one of the last conversations they had was about how Benedict wanted to volunteer in the community, and some day join the military.