A FILIPINO who has lived in Canada for more than 20 years is being called a hero in his community in Ottawa after he died while trying to save his neighbor’s 12-year-old son on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
A report posted by CBC News Ottawa said Michael Lumahang, 39, drowned after he was swept by strong current of the Ottawa river while trying to save Laurent Peralta.
Lumahang was out on a picnic with some friends and neighbors near Champlain Bridge when the incident happened. Reports said Lumahang invited Peralta and his sister to go fishing.
The boy’s mother said she allowed her children to go with Lumahang because he was an experienced fisherman. She added that Lumahang and Laurent had gone fishing at Dow’s Lake several times in the past.
Peralta fell into the river and was immediately swept away from the shore because of the strong current. Lumahang and another bystander immediately jumped into the water to save the boy. Only the boy and the bystander returned to the shore, however.
The Ottawa Police’s Marine, Dive and Trail unit searched for Lumahang’s body overnight. His body was recovered 90 meters off the shore of Bate Island at about 6 a.m. Sunday (6 p.m. in Manila).
Lumahang’s family and friends created a Facebook page called Michael Lumahang Memorial Page. The Lumahang family also sought financial help to pay for Lumahang’s funeral. It was reported that Lumahang canceled his life insurance policy because he can no longer afford it.
Lumahang’s family emigrated from the Philippines to Canada more than 20 years ago. Lumahang worked as an office cleaner. He met and married Eva Soque in Ottawa in 2009.