Mother of 10-year-old drowning victim talks about family's sadness

PawKu Wah, courtesy of her family.

The mother of 10-year-old PawKu Wah is sharing thoughts about her daughter with FOX 12 after the young girl drowned at Kelley Point Park in North Portland on Sunday.

Tea Paw said through a translator that her daughter loved pets, drawing and dancing with her friends.

The little girl was at the park with her mother and some of her siblings for a day of fun when she went underwater. Her mother said she didn’t witness the accident and was told something had happened near her son.

“We are not doing good right now,” Paw said, through a translator. “My whole family, we couldn’t eat. My husband hasn’t eaten for two days.”

Her mother said Wah didn’t know how to swim and wasn’t wearing a lifejacket.

She said Wah was one of five children and part of a larger extended family of refugees originally from Burma, who came to Portland seven years ago from a camp in Thailand. Friends of the family have started a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the expenses of the child's funeral.

She said she hopes other people – especially parents – will be more careful around the water.

“I just want to tell everyone that I hope in the future nobody would have to go through the pain I’ve gone through and that everyone would be careful in the future,” Paw said.

Wah is the second person to drown at the park in less than two weeks.

Monday, the head of Portland Parks & Rec and Portland Fire & Rescue announced Kelley Point Park is being temporarily closed in the wake of Wah’s death as the swimming conditions there simply aren’t safe.

Crews will be installing additional “no swimming” signs in larger sizes and several languages around the 100-acre park. It remains closed until further notice.

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