Spartanburg Co. teen drowns saving younger brother


SUNSET, S.C. (AP/WSPA) – A 15-year-old South Carolina boy drowned trying to save his younger brother in what officials say is the state’s deadliest body of water.

“He did an unselfish act to save his own brother. He gave his life to save his brother,” Harry Thomas said of his son.

Family says Sahiyd Thomas-Joyner of Moore died Friday attempting to save his 12-year-old brother in Lake Keowee, near Keowee-Toxaway State Park.

“It’s just hard. Who actually thinks they gonna bury their 15 year old? There was so much he wanted to do in life…” says his mother, Juanita Thomas.

Pickens County Deputy Coroner Gary Duncan said Thomas noticed his brother struggling in the lake and pushed him back to shore. He says Thomas went backward and under the water.

Duncan said Thomas was on a camping trip with a church.

“Kids say how he had such a generous soul. It gives me comfort in knowing that he was loved not just by us, by everybody he encountered,” says Juanita.

A spokesperson with Spartanburg County School District Six confirmed Monday morning that Thomas was a Dorman High School student.

A GoFundme page has been set up to help the family. Click here for more information or to help.

Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis says 32 people have died in Lake Keowee over the past 25 years. Twenty-year-old Jose Adrian Ramirez drowned in the Fall Creek Landing area of Lake Keowee last month.


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