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Missouri Teen Dies After Saving 4-Year-Old Brother from Drowning: 'My Son Is a Hero,' Dad Says

People logo People 8/5/2022 Jason Duaine Hahn

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A Missouri community is mourning the death of 18-year-old Alex Harris, who drowned last month while attempting to save his younger brother from a river.

According to a report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Harris was swimming in the Missouri River on July 23 when he "went under the water and did not resurface" while attempting to save another swimmer. Harris was pronounced dead the next day by the Holt County Coroner.

In a Facebook post, his father, Tyson Richard Harris, said his son died while "saving his little brother from a drowning accident."

"If it hadn't of been for him keeping him up until his mother got there they would both be gone," Tyson wrote. "I love you son and I wish every second I could take your place. You are a hero son."

In an interview with Today, Harris' mother, Nikki, said her son likely became tired while saving his 4-year-old brother, Asher.

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"I watched his hands let go and he sank. I knew [the] exhaustion he was feeling," she told the outlet. "I tried so hard to get to him faster."


Gallery: Tragedy as sisters aged 9, 8 and 5 are found dead in neighbor's pond (Daily Mail)

The parents told Today that Harris and Asher had a special bond with each other, even if they had a 14-year age difference.

Harris graduated from South Holt High School this year, and the school held a candlelight vigil for him the day after his death. South Holt head football coach Josh Petersen told ABC affiliate KQTV that Harris was a positive influence in their community.

RELATED: Boy, 3, Visiting Family for Easter Dies in Accidental Drowning: 'Extremely Saddened by This Tragic Event'

"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 told the news station.

"That was Alex," he added. "Just someone that would help someone else out."

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Petersen said Harris would be remembered in the town for a long time to come.

"The widespread impact of what Alex did, who Alex was, even though he's gone, he won't be forgotten," he explained to KQTV. "I think that's just a tremendous attribute to him."

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