Christopher Barber died after he dove into the water to rescue an eight-year-old boy who had fallen off a jet-ski in Hopewell on Saturday.
HOPEWELL — A great guy, great father, brother, and friend: These are just a few of the ways family and friends of Chris Barber are remembering him by.
Barber was the good Samaritan who Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson said died while attempting to rescue an unconscious eight-year-old boy injured in a jet-ski accident on a pond in Hopewell on Saturday night.
Barber’s friend Stephen French said he knew Barber his whole life, as the two knew each other through family and lived together briefly. French said while the two men became distant the last couple of years, Barber was always a friendly and familiar face who selflessly made it his mission to make people smile.
"He would take his shirt off his back for anybody to help them in any way he possibly could," French said.
It’s that selflessness which French said ultimately led to Barber’s final act.
Henderson said Barber was a bystander as Raymond L. Foster, 36, of Canandaigua, and the boy fell off the jet-ski in a private pond on Foster’s property.
The boy fell unconscious in the water, and that's when Barber dove in. During a news conference Sunday, Henderson said Barber then had some sort of medical event. Deputies tried to save him "for quite a long time," but he was later pronounced dead at Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua.
Henderson said the boy and Foster were not wearing the required life vests, and criminal charges may be pending against Foster as the incident is under investigation. Foster declined to comment for this story.
"Our thoughts and condolences go out to [Barber’s] family because it's a very difficult time for them as well," Henderson said.
Barber’s sister Amie said her brother was a recently engaged father, adding that the kids were there when he jumped in. She said Chris’s death "has left huge holes in those he touched in his life."
“At this time we are trying to keep the kids safe and comforted from this pain,” she said. “We really do appreciate all the support he is being shown from this and we can only pray he will forever be remembered for his selfless act to save a child. He gave his life to save another.”
As for French, while he said the loss hurts, he couldn't help but praise his lost friend.
"He was a true hero, and we lost a great guy," he said.
As of Sunday night, the boy was still recovering at Strong Memorial Hospital but is expected to be OK, according to Henderson. Deputies are still trying to determine the exact cause of death for Barber.
Here is the followup report Sunday from the original story.
Police say a Canadaigua man could face criminal charges over a jet-ski accident that led to a good Samaritan's death.
Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson says that 40-year-old Christopher Barber died after he dove into the water to rescue an eight-year-old boy who had fallen off a jet-ski in Hopewell on Saturday. Henderson says Barber suffered some sort of medical event and began drowning. Deputies responding attempted to help Barber, but he was ultimately declared dead at Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua.
An exact cause of death has still not been determined.
"Here's a bystander who thought obviously he could help, saw they were distress, he entered the water," says Henderson of Barber. "He, unfortunately, had some type of medical event that had now cost this individual his life, our thoughts and condolences go to [his] family."The incident began when the eight-year-old boy and 36-year-old Raymond Foster crashed their jet-ski on a private pond, causing it to be tipped over. The boy was unresponsive in the water, and neither of the people in the crash were wearing life vests at the time. The boy should have by law been wearing a vest, as he is a minor.
"Adults have to have the due diligence to make sure that the actions that you don't harm a minor," says Henderson.
Amie Barber, the sister of Christopher Barber, said that her family appreciated all the support that has been shown for him.
"We can only pray he will forever be remembered for his selfless act to save a child," she wrote to News10NBC. "He gave his life to save another."
The eight-year-old boy remains in the hospital but is expected to survive. Foster declined to give comment.
Henderson says they are still looking into whether Foster had the right certificates to be operating the jet-ski.
In the initial report Saturday
HOPEWELL — A Bloomfield man who witnessed a boating accident in Hopewell died while tried to help the victims.
According to Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson, a boating accident — involving an adult and an 8-year-old boy — took place around 7:45 p.m. Saturday, May 16, in a small body of water off County Road 4 in the Town of Hopewell. Raymond L. Foster, 36, of Canandaigua was operating a personal watercraft with the boy when it crashed, according to the sheriff's office.
A bystander, Christopher Lee Barber, 38, of Bloomfield, saw the crash and entered the water to render aid. Deputies arriving on the scene found him to be unconscious and unresponsive. They quickly removed him from the water and began performing CPR. He was taken to Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua, where he was pronounced dead.
Foster and the boy were conscious and breathing when deputies arrived, and they were flown to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.
The incident is under investigation, the sheriff's department said.
First responders from Shortsville Fire Department, Shortsville Ambulance, Hopewell Fire Department and Canandaigua Emergency Squad also responded to the scene.