NEW YORK – In a horrific tragedy, an Indian man, Nagaraju Surepalli, 31, who worked on a work visa as a software engineer for Infosys, and his 3-year-old son, Ananth Surepalli, drowned last Tuesday, in the community pool at the Glens of Northville apartment complex in Novi, Michigan. They are survived by Surepalli’s wife Bindu, 29.
Surepalli and his son were found unresponsive in the apartment complex’s pool around 4:30 p.m., according to Novi Police Chief David Molloy, reported the Oakland Press. The family is from the city of Guntur, in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
An online effort to collect $150,000 for the family to offset funeral and other costs had raised more than $181,000, from more than 5,000 people, as of June 5.
In the gofundme.com post, organizers of the fundraiser called Surepalli, “the most jovial, honest, friendly person you would ever meet and always smiling.”
They added: “In the midst of this tragedy, We’ve set up this fund to help them with the funeral expenses and other ongoing grief/recovery support costs. This includes the very expensive process of carrying their mortal remains back to India.”
Investigators and relatives of the victims have been working with the Consulate General of India in Chicago and New York to assist in family notification overseas and funeral arrangements.
The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office performed autopsies Wednesday morning. According to the report, a staff member at the complex, working at the office near the pool, called 911 after observing two bodies floating in the pool.
Novi police report the victims were playing poolside when shortly after 3 p.m. the child accidently fell into the deep end of the pool while riding his tricycle, reported Oakland Press.
According to police, the father entered the 5 feet of water to try and save his son but became a victim himself. Novi police said neither victim was an experienced swimmer. They were the only people in the pool area.
“The man entered into the five-feet deep pool to rescue his son who slipped into the water riding a tricycle but accidentally drowned himself. The pool does not staff a lifeguard and they were the only occupants in the pool at that time,” a police statement said.
“They were not intending to swim, they were just going to sit by the pool, and that was evidenced by what we found at the scene, and certainly what they were wearing. They were not dressed in swim attire,” said local police chief David Malloy.
The two were pulled from the pool and taken to St. John Providence Hospital in Novi.
Reports also quoted American Telangana Association (ATA) president Ram Mohan Reddy Konda saying that efforts were being made to help the family members of the deceased.