The family of a young Limerick man who died in a jet-ski accident earlier this summer has slammed bystanders who filmed his last moments and posted them to social media.
19-year-old Wassiou Leon Awaye died after his jet ski hit a wave and flipped on the water in Killaloe on Wednesday May 31st.
Emergency services were called to the scene; however, they were unable to save the young man.
On Lunchtime Live this morning, Wassiou’s foster mother Sandra Byrnes said footage of his last moments was shared to TikTok in the days after his death.
She told Andrea she was devastated when Wassiou’s sister called to show her the video.
“I didn’t even look at the full video because I was just distraught,” she said.
“I could just see his hand because on his right hand, he had the key to the jet ski and on his left hand he wore a gold bracelet.
“And I could just see the left hand come up out of the water and you could, ‘hear help, help’.
“I just said, ‘Turn it off, I don’t want to see any more’ and I had to go on my way about getting it taken down.”
She spoke of her disgust at the people who filmed the video and posted it online.
“How could you be so desensitised to do that?” she said.
“To not even look for a life buoy to throw or find somebody who is maybe a stronger swimmer or something to try and help him – but video him?”
Sandra also lost her daughter Yasmin-Lee Williams in tragic fashion four years ago – and she said onlookers also attempted to video what was happening when her body was discovered.
“I could hear my son screaming, ‘Are you actually for real?’ and then I could see a guard running – they were actually filming my daughter’s remains being taken out of the river,” she said.
“Then they told the Guards, ‘Oh I’m only praying for her’ – how do you pray with your phone?
“Some people are just so desensitised, there is no morals whatsoever. I just don’t get where people are coming from.”
Sandra said the comments under the video of Wassiou’s death were the most upsetting thing.
“There was a lot of horrible comments underneath it that, like, he was acting the eejit and the jet-ski wasn’t an accident and other horrible things and language I wouldn’t even use on this,” she said.
“Just disgusting things.”
“Then there were fake profiles made with people portraying themselves to be me and writing these disgusting things I was supposed to be saying to Wassiou’s biological mother, Tracy.
“Just disgusting, disgusting things. Imagine I didn’t speak with Tracy and she thought I was saying those things.”
She said it was only luck that she remains very close to Tracy who was well aware that the accounts were not real.
“Who goes to the bother of that?” she asked.
“They must have very, very sad lives to live on other people’s grief like that.
“We have enough to be doing you know what I mean. You’re trying to deal with grief or trying to come to terms with the loss of him, the absence of him and then you have to deal with the shock of seeing this – it’s absolutely disgusting.”
Sandra said Wassiou was a beautiful person who loved football and his three dogs more than anything.
“He was a character you know, he really was,” she said. “He had a heart made of nine carat gold.”
“Wassiou would give you his last euro; he was such a selfless person. He put everyone’s needs before his own; he would run to help everybody before himself.”
A special soccer tournament was held in Wassiou’s memory on Sunday at pike Rovers grounds in Limerick.
Sandra said the funds will go to the search and rescue divers who helped find Wassiou in the water and a special plaque in his memory.
She is also campaigning to have lifesaving equipment placed behind glass at the riverside location.
You can listen back here: