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Vigil held in Haddam for teen who drowned in CT River after saving younger brothers


HADDAM, Conn. (WTNH)– The life of a young man was honored Friday night in Haddam after saving his brothers from drowning earlier this week. The 18-year-old is being remembered as a hero.

Dozens of people showed up at the river. Out of respect, we kept our distance, as they lit candles for Khailon Rivers, a young man who died a hero.

Related: 18-year-old being called a hero after drowning while saving brothers

An intimate ceremony at the Connecticut River for 18-year-old Khailon Rivers. Overwhelming emotion poured out over his death.

Rivers died Monday while trying to save his little brothers after they went under the water. They were on the sand bar.

Family, friends and strangers showed up with candles to support the young man.

“We feel bad when we heard this news. I just wanted to come down and express our support,” said Scott Brinckerhoff, a resident.

His family still in shock.

“I hoped I was gonna go there and he was going to be on a stretcher or something and they were saving him, but that’s not the case and we went home without him,” said Talia Ortega, a cousin.

Our camera stayed far back out of respect. We caught a glimpse of their shirts that had a picture of Khailon. The young man they say brought this town together.

“These people that we didn’t know knew him and then telling us how nice he was, how he was so supportive, hard working, what he did for them,” said Ortega. “It makes her so happy to know that her son was loved by this community and with this town is doing for us right now is what’s getting us through this.”

Khailon is not the first to lose his life at the Connecticut River. His family wants officials to have larger signage to make people more aware of what can happen if they swim at their own risk.

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