Oluwatoni-Onikeku-jumpingBarely a few days into the mourning of the untimely passing of 2 young Nigerians who died by drowning in the UK and in Canada, we wake up again to the mystifying news of another young Nigerian dying again – by drowning.

20-year-old Nigerian student Oluwatoni Onikeku, from the University of Massachusetts Lowell drowned while swimming in the Deerfield River near Stillwater Bridge Deerfield, United States.Sunday evening, according to Deerfield Police Chief John Paciorek Jr.

Multiple agencies reported to the rope swing area at 5:27 p.m. for a reported drowning, according to Paciorek. He said the victim was swimming across the river toward the rope swing with a friend when he went under.

“The friend tried to grab onto him, was only able to hold him up for a few minutes and lost him,” Paciorek said.

Olivia Webster of Southampton was swimming with friends in the area when the accident happened.

“We went down and this lady yelled at us that this kid drowned,” she said.

Her friend, Mike Sears, also of Southampton, said he saw a boat come up the river and a young man directed the boat where to search. He said he and his friends were then asked to leave the area.

“It’s a real deep spot,” he said. “It’s sad to see it happen.”

The Deerfield and South Deerfield fire departments, South County EMS, Greenfield Fire Department, Northfield Dive Team and State Police Dive Team responded.

The incident remains under investigation by Deerfield Police and the State Police detective unit assigned to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office.


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