WESTFIELD, Mass. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS) – The teen who drowned in the Westfield River on Sunday has been identified as David Shovgan of Chicopee, who leaves behind 10 older siblings and his parents, Sergy and Lidiya Shovgan.
Westfield police said the 14-year-old was swimming with friends Sunday afternoon near the Great River Bridge when he went under the water. Rescuers found the boy about 20 to 30 minutes later and rushed him to Baystate Noble Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Aleksandr Ptselnikov set up a David Shovgan Memorial Page on the crowdsourcing website, youcaring.com “on Behalf of Mom and Dad.” Ptselnikov said that the whole family, which includes four brothers and six sisters, was there and prayed together around David in his hospital room at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Shovgan became out of breath when he was swimming with friends on Sunday, his brother-in-law Ptselnikov said. “The guys with him tried to help, but they couldn’t hold him, and he had passed out already in the water,” said Ptselnikov. “They were trying to grab him, but he slipped from their hands.”
Police received a 911 call at 2:24 p.m. Sunday regarding a reported drowning, said Westfield Police Sgt. Michael Chechile. Westfield Police and Fire departments, and State Police helicopters, searched the river north of Hanover Street for the victim, Chechile said.
Ptselnikov said that Shovgan didn’t have any known medical conditions that would have caused to him to drown. “We didn’t expect nothing like this to happen,” he said.
Shovgan, who was homeschooled, was “very social,” said Ptselnikov.
The youcaring site states: “David was truly a blessing to our family. He is remembered as a smart, friendly teenager who enjoyed spending time in church, with his friends and family (especially the nephews and nieces). He also liked playing sports and reading.”
Ptselnikov said that David prayed every night and enjoyed reading the Bible. Shovgan’s mother is taking comfort in believing that her youngest child is with God, he added.
This is the second drowning in the Westfield River in less than two months. In July, 18-year-old Roberto Martinez of Springfield died while saving a friend who nearly drowned.
“It’s a weird river because it’s a winding river,” Westfield Police Capt. Michael McCabe said in July. “Elbows create deep pools and that’s where the swiftest currents are.”
A wake will be held for Shovgan at the Southwick Baptist Church, located at 261 College Highway in Southwick, from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday and funeral services will be held at the church at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Donations to help with Shovgan’s funeral expenses can be made at www.youcaring.com/david-shovgan-437234. As of early Tuesday morning, nearly $11,000 had been raised by 104 supporters surpassing the $10,000 goal.