An amateur powerlifter got into trouble in the water and drowned just two days after his 22nd birthday, his friend has said.
Kristers Bednarskis went for a swim with his girlfriend at Bawsey Country Park in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, on 8 August but came across a strong current, Ilja Jevtusenko told Yahoo News UK.
It is thought he drowned after he ran out of energy, despite four people jumping in to try and get to him. Jevtusenko was not there but said he was told what happened by Bednarskis’ family.
Now, school friend Jevtusenko has started a fundraiser to pay for the Peterborough resident’s funeral costs and is approaching his £5,100 target.
“He was just an amazing person, who you can talk to about anything, and you always know he will be there for you when you need him,” Jevtusenko said.
“He was such a great friend, we could laugh for hours with him when together, he was a strong and committed person. He would set goals and he would smash them. He was just an incredible person.”
Bednarskis, who was originally from Latvia, was an amateur powerlifter, and was due to enter a competition in January.
He worked at a Tesco warehouse and Jevtusenko said his hobby was “gym, gym and more gym”.
“We are trying to stay strong, trying to arrange all the funeral care,” he added.
“It is really hard for us right now, to be doing these things and talking about his passing and knowing that the funeral might be just round the corner makes everything feel so much more real, and that it has actually happened.
“It is very hard for me as a friend, but it’s a million times harder for the parents to lose their son at such a young age, no parent should ever bury their child. And of course his brother and sisters are in the same boat as the parents.”
The gym Bednarskis attended made a memorial for him on Tuesday, creating a cross out of barbells, Ilja added.
He had celebrated his 22nd birthday just two days before the accident at Bawley Park.
Read more: Woman, 91, arrested over death of boy, three
“What I’d say to the people is every penny counts, any support and a simple share of the fundraising page goes a long way because as this shows, you never know when it’s the last time you see the person,” Jevtusenko said.
“We only celebrated his birthday, had a barbecue and laughed, and two days after he was gone. We all might need help at some point in life, so if you can donate please do but a simple share will go a long long way.”
Visit Jevtusenko’s Go Fund Me page to donate.