GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Family and friends of the two West Michigan children who died after swimming at Holland State Park Saturday came together Monday to remember the victims.
Loved ones of six-year-old Iain Rowe gathered at Grand Haven Christian School, where Iain just finished kindergarten.
Attendees lit candles and left cards of support, flowers, and stuffed animals then sang and prayed. Rowe’s principal, teacher, pastor, and father spoke.
“Help me finish what he started,” said Steve Rowe, Iain’s father.
Steve asked Iain’s classmates and their families to use Iain’s death as an opportunity to carry out his legacy by loving God and others unconditionally.
“Get out into the world and love like Iain. Like everyone here has said, hug like Iain,” said Steve.
“His giggle was contagious and his smile could light up the room,” said Iain’s teacher.
Police in Ottawa County do not suspect any foul play in Iain’s death or 17-year-old Christian Ngabo, who police say died after jumping into Lake Michigan.
“He was a good guy, funny guy,” said Murambuai Desire, Ngabo’s friend.
Desire says Ngabo played soccer and sang in the choir at Union High School in Grand Rapids.
According to Desire, he, Ngabo, and some friends drove to the beach Saturday for a fun time.
“Horrific,” said Ngabo. “I feel bad.”
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department told FOX17 a water conditions flag near the front of the park was changed to red to warn of dangerous conditions.
However, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says due to coronavirus restrictions, the department has not been able to put out warning flags on the beach or de-winterize the parks, like putting out buouys and removing fencing, which is usually done by June 1.
The department says water condition flags will be at all of its beaches by the end of the week and hope to have other measures in place within the next few weeks.
The department says it’s usually done by June 1. According to the department, water condition flags will
“Our goal here is to do as best we can to make the environment safe for people, but we’re also ensuring that people head the dynamics of water and act accordingly as well,” said Ron Olson, Michigan DNR Chief of Parks and Recreation.