Nelson's Robert Wudkevich or Woody's Cuban vacation turned into an experience that still haunts him. He saved a 7-year-old boy from drowning but couldn't rescue the boy's father.

Nelson's Robert Wudkevich or Woody's Cuban vacation turned into an experience that still haunts him. He saved a 7-year-old boy from drowning but couldn't rescue the boy's father.

Nelson man who rescued boy at Cuban resort still haunted

It will be a long time before he gets over the experience that has him hailed a hero — because he wasn’t able to do more.

Nelson man Woody Wudkevich says it will be a long time before he gets over the experience that has him hailed a hero — because he wasn’t able to do more.

Wudkevich was on vacation at a Cuban resort last week when he saved a 7-year-old boy from drowning in the ocean. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to help the boy’s father.

Asleep on a beach in Varadero, Cuba, Wudkevich was woken and saw the Ottawa family in trouble. Ye Liu, 40 and his son had been playing at the water’s edge and were overtaken by a wave and pulled out to sea.

Wudkevich swam 200 meters out into the water.

“When I got there, I saw a young boy. A wave was coming over the top of him, so I grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him towards me and I said ‘Are you OK?’ And all he said was ‘I wanna go in now.’ So I looked and his father was swept out further,” Wudkevich told CBC news.

As he brought the boy to safety, Liu was taken further out to sea. He tried to go back out but couldn’t carry on. When lifeguards arrived, and retrieved the boy’s father, he couldn’t be resuscitated.

“[I’m] grateful I could save Connor,” Wudkevich told CTV, “just sad I couldn’t save his dad, that’s the tough part.”

Wudkevich is back home in Nelson. He has received a great deal of media attention for the rescue mission and told the Star that he doesn’t want to talk about the experience anymore. It still haunts him.

“I don’t think I will be able to get back to normal for quite a bit. It’s just overwhelming. It’s too much,” he told the Star.

He appreciates the tremendous support he’s received from the community upon returning to Nelson.

Wudkevich came home not knowing much about the family he helped and has been reaching out to them. The Chinese community of Ottawa is rallying support for the Liu family and Wudkevich encourages helping them at comefromchina.com/liuyue/

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Dr. Cori Lausen, bat specialist, has questions about logging in an unusual bat habitat near Beasley. Photo: Submitted
Kaslo biologist questions logging at unique West Kootenay bat site

Dr. Cori Lausen, a bat specialist, studies a population of bats above Beasley

Robbie Campbell lost his livelihood when the pandemic shut down Shambhala Music Festival. Instead, he spent part of 2020 working on a children’s book called Tulip that is now available. Photo: Submitted
In a lousy year, a Kootenay man was saved by a pink T-rex

Robbie Campbell became a children’s author after the pandemic cost him his livelihood

Community mental health workers are in high demand, and a new program at Selkirk College will provide opportunities in this field. File Photo
Selkirk College to train community mental health workers

Twelve students will complete two courses enabling them to work in health and human services

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Most Read