NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Central Falls man perished on Sunday after diving into the waters off Conimicut Point in Warwick to try and save a young girl he didn’t know.
While the family of Valentin Cardona Sanchez is heartbroken by their loss, they tell 12 News they’re comforted by the fact he died a hero.
“Although this moment was very difficult, this was a man who put a human life before his,” said his niece, Isamar Reyes.
According to Reyes, Cardona Sanchez was celebrating Father’s Day at the beach with members of his family, including his young son, when his wife alerted him that someone in the water may be in trouble.
Without hesitation, he jumped in to help, but never made it back out alive.
“That’s how he was,” Reyes added. “He was born in Guatemela, he came to better his life, and he was always putting people first. Always about his family, about everybody else before himself.”
“Everyone was devastated, but not surprised because of how he always put everybody first, but also hurt for the fact that we lost a husband, dad, brother, son,” she continued.
Cardona Sanchez’s body was recovered following an hours-long search on Sunday. The girl he tried to save, 10-year-old Yoskarly Martinez, died as well, with her body being discovered by search-and-rescue teams Monday afternoon.
Two other men, including Martinez’s uncle, were taken to the hospital Sunday, with one in critical condition, according to Warwick police.
Cardona Sanchez’s family has started a GoFundMe page to help return him back to his native Guatemala.
Another GoFundMe page was set up to raise money for Martinez’s family.