“He was the best uncle. He once told me that he gave his life for my daughter, and he did, and they both left. This is how Yohana remembered her brother Yeison Camilo Alarcón, 24, who died trying to save three of her relatives from the deep, cold waters of Lake Tota in Boyacá.

On the afternoon of Sunday, May 8, Yeison, unable to swim, jumped into the water to try to save her niece and two cousins, all underage, but her efforts were futile: all four drowned.

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A psychologist by profession, Yeison is remembered by his family as a happy man, enthusiast of motorcycles and a unique vocation of helping people.

“He studied psychology because he said God gave him the gift of helping others. He was an excellent student, my brother always stood out as the best in his class throughout his career,” said Yohana.

He grew up with his parents, Joselín Alarcón and Olga Lucía Moreno, and older siblings Yohana and Eduardo. Lagunita sector, in the village of Daito, in the municipality of Boyacá, Aquitania.

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His sister said, “Our families are peasants. I can’t complain about the life we ​​have, because they always fought for us so that we had all the comforts and a perfect relationship.”

Yeison lived in Sogamoso and moved to work at the Chia Clinic headquarters in that municipality.

Despite being away from home, he would travel by motorcycle on weekends to visit his family in Daito.

Sunday, May 8, was one of those visiting days, to be exact, until an unexpected tragedy occurred.

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The Alarcón Moreno family home was just five minutes from Lake Tota, one of Colombia’s main tourist attractions. According to Yohana, the children of the house that day decided to go down the rock to reach the shore, although they did not usually go to that area often.

“The children continued, and my brother decided to come down to look after them,” said Yohana.

Nikol, 13, went down to the lake with Yohana’s 7-year-old younger sister Laura, who are both daughters; Santiago Pedraza, 12 years old; Paula Valentina Pedraza, 10 years old; and Yeison, 24 years old. He was with his girlfriend.

The children were playing on the shore of the lagoon, on a solid rocky area of ​​about 4 meters. Yohana said that Yeison always took care of them. “The children were not alone. They were with my brother.”

Yeison’s sister reported that Santiago suddenly began to descend into the depths of the lagoon, and the three young boys accompanying him followed him until their feet touched the bottom and they lost control.

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“The waves in the Tota lagoon are too strong, the water is too cold. After two or three meters, there is an extremely deep drop. When my brother saw this, he jumped into the water for the children, even though he couldn’t swim.”He told his sister.

It took a few minutes until there was nothing left to do. “He tried to save the children until the last moment,” he said.

Yohana said that her daughter, Nikol Juliana, also did not know how to swim. “She was terribly afraid of water. My youngest daughter, Laura, on the other hand, always wanted to learn, so she rode around with her buoy. That helped her.” sure.

While the other children and their uncles struggled not to drown, Laura tried to help them—with her buoy—but she couldn’t pull them ashore with her.

At around 3:20 pm Yohana, a health worker, received a call from her daughter Laura. She was about to finish her shift at the hospital at the time.

“Mom, my sister is not breathing, my sister is suffocating” said the girl helplessly.

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Yohana couldn’t believe it and asked where she was and who was with her.

“I’m where you come to play,” he replied. However, Yohana couldn’t tell where she was, as her mother said she was “highly protective” and only went down to the lake a few times as a child.

A few minutes later, Yeison’s girlfriend got on the phone and told Yohana that the children and her brother had drowned in the lake right in front of their parents’ house.

She immediately called her husband, who came from the lake’s stream traffic, so that he could arrive on a boat to help the little ones. Meanwhile, Yohana reported the emergency to the hospital.

“I told my colleagues that my daughters were drowning and I urgently needed an ambulance,” she said.

About 10 minutes later, the woman came around the scene by ambulance, as it was only possible to walk down the rock. Yohana began to descend from the boulder as she heard the distant screams.


“When I go downstairs I see my brother Eduardo holding Paula, but the girl is no longer responding. I look ahead and see my daughter swimming about 50 meters away from my baby. I recognized her by the shirt she was wearing, but I did not see my brother,” he said.

Yohana’s partner pulled Nikol out of the lake, but the girl did not react.

They tried to resurrect Nikol and Paula for a few minutes until they decided to take them to the hospital. There, they tried resuscitating after 40 minutes, but the minors no longer had symptoms.

Meanwhile, the Police, fire brigade, Civil Defense, and industry community came to the lake together to search for Santiago and Yeison.

At around 5 pm, they recovered Santiago’s body from the water, but the 24-year-old was not heard from until the next morning, at 6 a.m., when they found his body floating about three meters from shore.

Aquitaine declared a week of mourning for the tragedy. Last Monday, the mayor, together with the Ramon Ignacio Avella School where the children studied, and other establishments, held a funeral in honor of the minors and the young man.

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“Both the children of the school, the teachers, the Police, the fire department, the Civil Defense were always accompanying us. “I am very grateful to the authorities because everyone’s reaction was immediate as soon as they were ready,” he said.

For Yeison’s sister, it was like losing her two children, as her mother had to go out sometimes when they were little, and she was the one who took care of her.

“Yeison was the best brother, the kid in the house, she was spoiled. She was six years older than him and she was one of those spoiled mothers, even when she grew up, I tried to give her everything she wanted from me,” she said.

Although he feels deep pain in his heart, to his acquaintances and residents of the municipality, Yeison, Nikol, Paula and Santiago in white balloons in the middle of an avenue of honor.

“I had never seen a funeral, and I never thought that so many people from the Aquitaine community would accompany us. Thank you all so much,” Yohana concluded.

Journalist of ELTIEMPO.COM
Twitter: @lauramerher1

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