NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — A 19-year-old Ukrainian refugee drowned while trying to save a group of distressed swimmers in Florida on Tuesday.
Mykhailo Myroshnychenko, 19, and his two brothers moved to Jacksonville from a refugee camp in Norway less than a month ago, according to a report from NBC affiliate WTLV.
While visiting Neptune Beach on Tuesday night, police said Myroshnychenko went into the ocean in an attempt to save an adult and two children who were caught in a rip current. It was the last time Myroshnychenko’s brothers saw him alive.
“I turned to my brother, ‘Can you see Mykhailo?’ He said, ‘No, we just went to try to find him, but we can’t’,” Mykhailo’s brother, Victor Myroshnychenko, told WTLV.
Police found Myroshnychenko’s body just after 2 a.m. the following morning. His remains were pulled from the ocean in nearby Atlantic Beach.
The Myroshnychenko family said that their parents found out their son died over the phone, just a week before his 20th birthday.
“We bought a present for him, but we can’t gift him his present now. It’s really so terrible for us,” Victor Myroshnychenko told WTLV.
The local Ukrainian community has come together to help the Myroshnychenko family with Mykhailo’s funeral.