MANILA — Canadians are paying respect to a Filipino who died after trying to save a kababayan in Ottawa.
Michael Lumahang, 39, died after diving in Ottawa River upon seeing a fellow Pinoy and neighbor Laurent Peralta last week.
Lumahang’s mother, Aquilina Tremblay, said that Lumahang and Peralta were fishing when his son saw Peralta slipped into the water. Lumahang did not hesitate and jumped in the water to save the 12-year-old boy.
“I asked the boy what happened. He said that they were fishing when he [Peralta] slipped, so my son helped him. When I turned around, Michael was gone,” said Tremblay.
Lumahang was swept away by the strong rapids of the Ottawa River. Another man also jumped into the water to save Peralta.
Peralta was brought to the hospital and treated for mild hypothermia. The other man who saved him also survived.
The police searched for Lumahang, and eventually his body was located near Bate Island the following day.
“I was praying and praying. I guess my prayer wasn’t working. He’s already dead,” his mother said.
Many Filipinos in the community are shocked. Lumahang is an active member in Assumption Parish. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and El Shaddai.
Eusebio Panuncio of El Shaddai expressed his regrets for the loss of his friend. Likewise, Art Cuenco of the Knights of Columbus said that they were surprised to learn that Lumahang died already.
“His death was a big shock to us. But we are very proud of his heroic sacrifice. They called him a hero and he is a hero,” said Cuenco.