A Missouri teenager who drowned while attempting to save his four-year-old sibling is now being hailed as a hero.

Alex Harris, 18, was swimming in the Missouri River when his brother Asher got trapped in a strong current. He held up his younger brother until his mother arrived to help them, but drowned amid the heroic attempt. The following day, Alex was pronounced dead by the Holt County Coroner, per People.

Tyson Harris, the boy’s father, told TODAY Parents, “I heard Alex yelling for help and my wife and I took off running.” Tyson stated that he had “never seen anything like it before” as he described the terrifying experience of watching his son drown. Alex held onto his brother tightly right until their mother, Nikki, arrived.

Tyson wrote a heartfelt obituary on Facebook, saying that he thinks Alex is a hero. “My son Alex passed away yesterday saving his little brother in a drowning accident. If it hadn’t of been for him keeping him up until his mother got there they would both be gone. I love you son and I wish every second I could take your place. You are a hero son,” he wrote.

The 18-year-old’s death means the small town of Oregon, Missouri is heavily impacted and is grieving. The community heralds him a hero. Just this year, Alex had graduated from South Holt High School, and the day after his passing, the school conducted a candlelight vigil in his honor.

Josh Petersen, football coach at South Holt High School, spoke to KQTV, claiming Alex had a very strong impact on the neighborhood. “He affected the lives of a lot of people and when you look at the small-town community, everybody was greatly impacted, but he also impacted everybody just by who he was,” Petersen said.

He added, “Alex’s vast influence of what he achieved and who Alex was, even though he’s gone, he won’t be forgotten. I believe that’s simply a fantastic quality in him.”

Tyson added that Alex and Asher shared a warm bond between them despite their 14-years-age gap. Alex had always been a protective brother. “Even a few days before he died, Asher had scraped his knees after falling off his bike, and Alex was seen comforting him on the family’s security video,” Nikki said to TODAY Parents.
Tyson declared, “My son is a hero. If he had to do that over 100 times, he’d do the same thing every time. He was not leaving Asher.”

 

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