Vigil held for 9-year-old boy who drowned in Red River

“He’d brighten the room up because he’d come up with a big smile.”

A public vigil was held in Winnipeg on Monday to remember nine-year-old Darius Bezecki.

The boy died after being swept away by the current of the Red River while playing in the water on Friday.

Monday evening saw an outpouring of support on the banks of the Red River for the family of Bezecki.

They’re using his story as one of caution.

“He got too close and just you know, just hope if anybody ever sees kids playing by the water, you know may not be yours but you know it’s a community that raises kids so it doesn’t matter what colour, what race, get them away from the shore, that’s the biggest thing,” said Bezecki’s great uncle Lester Clarke.

“So that nobody else has to go through what the family has gone through.”

Those in attendance included members of the Winnipeg Police Service, Winnipeg Fire Department and the community.

Bezecki was riding his bike with his two brothers and a friend when they entered the river through a beach looking area.

It was here Bezecki was swept away, and led to an extensive search party.

The public also lined up to shake the hands of emergency personnel as a thank you.

Darius was found by a fisherman Sunday afternoon after 48 hours of searching which included a dive team from the Winnipeg Police Underwater Search and Recovery Unit and use of a thermal imaging drone.

While painful, the news brought the family some closure, as they remembered him for the joyful kid he was as his great uncle describes.

“Always smiles, always smiling, just he’d brighten the room up because he’d come up with a big smile, hug, right and he just loved it, just awesome kid.”

Darrell is a proud member of Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. He is a graduate of the television program from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton. He is returning to APTN after having completed an internship with us in 2018 and a brief stop as a reporter in B.C. in 2019.