Yannick Dbumeni-Ndaleu, a 21-year-old soccer player born Cameroon playing in the U.S. third division for Maryland Bobcats FC, died Monday trying to help a father save his drowning child off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Chief deputy coroner Tamara Willard said the body was recovered Tuesday morning after Dbumeni-Ndaleu disappeared into the ocean while trying to help another swimmer pull his son from a rip current, according to WMBF. The child and father were able to safely return to shore.
We are heartbroken to learn that Reserve Team player Yannick Ndalue has tragically passed away at the age of 21.Thoughts, prayers, and well wishes to his family, friends, and teammates at this extremely hard moment in time.#ForAll pic.twitter.com/qnybDHRUGR
— Maryland Bobcats FC (@MDBobcatsFC) June 15, 2022
Dbumeni-Ndaleu was a reserve player for Maryland Bobcats FC, which plays in the National Independent Soccer Association in the third tier of U.S. soccer. He lived in Silver Spring, Maryland, and was a graduate of Springbrook High School.
A GoFundMe has been set up to raise money to send the body back to his native Cameroon. According to the GoFundMe, Dbumeni-Ndaleu was at Myrtle Beach celebrating his 21st birthday when he saw a father and son struggling.
“Our brave and courageous brother/son without thinking went in and decided to help them,” the GoFundMe says. “He managed to help the son get out and went back in to also assist the father. Unfortunately, after helping the father get out, he couldn’t manage to save himself and got caught up in the current.
“Yannick was a selfless, funny, caring and loved individual. He was always the life of the party, always making jokes and had an amazing personality. He was always willing to help anyone that he could. He had dreams of becoming a professional soccer player, and each day he would get up and work towards making his dreams come true.”
Reserve Team member Yannick Ngaleu heroically passed away earlier this week.Please join us in helping his family in this tough time. Born in Cameroon, his family is looking for assistance with returning him back to Cameroon one last time.
— Maryland Bobcats FC (@MDBobcatsFC) June 17, 2022
Dbumeni-Ndaleu is survived by a twin sister and other family and loved ones, according to the GoFundMe.
“We are asking for donations to assist with returning his body back to Cameroon,” the GoFundMe wrote. “Yannick was a truly loved individual with an amazing heart. He will truly be missed.”
Makenzie Kramer, a bystander of the drowning also created a GoFundMe for Dbumeni-Ndaleu’s family.
“I’m sharing his story to spread awareness regarding the dangers of going into the sea when there are red flags up ‘No Swimming,’” the GoFundMe says. “His heroic act of kindness resulted in his death. My heart goes out to his family and friends. My goal is to help give his family peace and the proper ceremony he deserves.”