The family of nine-year-old Alexander Ottley is asking for parents to teach their children water safety.
Alex and an eight-year-old friend were swept into Lake Erie at Peacock Point in Haldimand County on Feb. 15.
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The eight-year-old boy was pulled from the water. Alex did not resurface.
Debbie Vallee, a family friend, described Alex as the typical little boy.
“He was very talkative, and very friendly,” said Vallee, whose granddaughter attended Jarvis Public School with Alex. “We would pick up our granddaughter at the bus station and Alex would either hop in the car or walk home with us.”
Vallee said Alex always had stories to tell and he dreamed of becoming an astronaut.
“He was just a happy, happy little boy and it’s a big loss for us.”
Alex’s 10-year-old sister, Melody Ottley, was with the boys when they fell in the water and ran to the road to flag down help.
“She’s doing better, she’s understanding that Alex is gone,” said Vallee. “She’s got a lot of support from her family.”
Their grandmother Katie Owen and her partner Troy Gowans are also doing as well as can be expected, said Vallee.
“The efforts of the rescuers and the recovery team have been just amazing,” said Vallee. “The healing process can start once they find him. It’s a waiting game.”
Haldimand OPP and the OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit resumed the search for Alex on Monday.
Vallee said the family is overwhelmed by the amount of people that have baked food, or opened their doors for the family and rescue teams.
Alex’s family has not had a chance to speak to Carrie and Mike Spicer, the Brantford couple that stopped to help the boys, but they have reached out through friends to say their thanks.
A Go Fund Me page for the family has been set up and more than $16,000 has been raised to date. To donate to the page search for Alex, The Great Hero on the site.
There are talks of a fundraiser at a later date to raise funds for safety equipment to be installed around the water.