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Police name teen drowning victim
Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Buffalo Police have released the name of the teenager who died Monday, after going into the water at Squaw Island to rescue his 7-year-old cousin.

Police say 17-year-old Mustafa Ismail, of Buffalo, was pronounced dead at ECMC Monday evening.

Witnesses say Ismail's cousin, who is in town from Tennessee, slipped on rocks and fell into the Niagara River. Ismail jumped into the water to rescue her. He was able to save the girl but he was then swept away by the swift current.

One of Ismail's sisters and a bystander reportedly jumped in to help save Ismail. Rescue crews pulled the bystander and the sister from the water.

Crews searched for Ismail and a dive team pulled him from the water about 45 minutes later. Rescuers tried to revive him, and rushed him to ECMC where he was pronounced dead.

Tuesday, the Buffalo Somalian community, many who don't know Ismail, came together to bury him in accordance with Muslim tradition. Ismail and his family had moved to WNY from Somalia less than a month ago.

The father of Ismail's cousin says he is very grateful for what the teen did by jumping into the river to save the little girl. But at the same time, he says he feels awful for Ismail's family, who came to Buffalo sponsored by Catholic Charities.

"Obviously we want them to make a fresh start in Buffalo and for this to happen, just a tragic accident, is very, very sad and our prayers and deep condolences with the family," said Rose Caldwell of Catholic Charities.

The little girl and Ismail's sister, who both were in the water, are said to be okay.


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