High school student who died in Hermit Falls diving accident tried to save friend
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) —
Tears fell as Taps, the military funeral song, played Thursday at a vigil honoring Private Jesse Yuth, the Long Beach Poly High School student who died after jumping into a pond at Hermit Falls in the Angeles National Forest.
Yuth’s family said he died trying to save a female friend who dived into the water, but didn’t know how to swim. Friends were able to successfully pull her from the water, but it was too late to save Yuth.
“He died a hero!” Yuth’s father Matthew Soth said.
On Thursday, a large crowd paid tribute to Yuth in front of the U.S. Army recruiting center in Long Beach. Yuth served in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at his high school and committed to joining the U.S. Army after high school.
“When we try to recruit kids, they usually have one or two of the Army values in them. Jesse had them all,” U.S. Army Sgt. Clifford Brown said.
“He said, ‘Dad, I’d rather die for my country… then die alone on the bed,'” Soth said amid tears.
Yuth’s mother says she can’t believe her little boy is gone.
“I always sing to him ‘You are my Sunshine’ when he was a baby,” said Sambo Yuth, who appreciated the outpouring of support.
“I’m so proud of my son. It’s touched my heart and it’s healing my heart, because I see a lot of people loving him,” she said.
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