SEATTLE -- Authorities have identified the two men who drowned in Seattle's Green Lake as 23-year old Abenezer Getachew of Snohomish County and 21-year old Euel Desta of Shoreline. Both men were students at Shoreline Community College, according to a spokesman there.
Desta was studying engineering and loved sports, friends said Monday. He moved from Ethiopia to the United States as a child to live with his grandmother, who "wanted to give him a better life."
"It was just devastating. It was just heartbreaking to hear her (react to the news)," said Amina Shah, who has known Desta for about eight years. ""Even though I couldn’t understand her, I knew that there was pain her voice. It just broke my heart."
Desta and Getachew were playing soccer with friends at Green Lake Thursday night when they decided to go for a swim, police said. The men were last seen chasing after a ball on the east side of the lake before struggling to stay afloat and disappearing under the surface.
Rescue teams pulled Desta from the water and pronounced him dead at the scene. Getachew died a few hours later at Harborview Medical Center.
"I found out through my family. My dad was at the scene and my sister was there," said friend Rahwa Ghebremichael, as she wiped away tears. "They had a bright future."
Friends have set up an online fundraiser to help cover Desta's funeral costs. His grandmother is elderly and cannot work, friends said. The rest of his family is thousands of miles away in Ethiopia.
"She obviously can’t afford it because she doesn’t work and she doesn’t have anybody to support her," Shah said. "It is just devastating that the only person she had here is now no longer here to support her."
"We don’t want her to be the one asking people (for help)," added Ghebremichael. "We want to be the family that Euel doesn’t have right now around."