After four days of searching, the body of teenager Leonardo Tavares da Silva, aged 16, was found this Wednesday afternoon, at Posto 8, in Ipanema, in the South Zone of Rio, by the Fire Department. Earlier this evening, the boy’s mother, Alessandra da Silva, 38 years old, was at the Instituto Médico-Legal (IML) Afrânio Peixoto, where she recognized the body.
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Since Sunday, firefighters had been trying to find the teenager, carrying out searches with the support of drones and helicopters; divers, jet skis and inflatable boats with sonar.
The teenager disappeared, according to reports, when the sea advanced towards the sand. On Sunday, the sea was rough due to a cyclone that had formed. Videos recorded on the beaches in the South Zone of Rio and from security cameras in buildings along the coast showed the force of the water. Since arriving in Rio, on Sunday night, the young man’s hand has accompanied the firefighters’ work daily, from 7am to 5pm.
— My mother’s heart is tight, he is my youngest. He asked me if he could come on the trip to Rio and I said no, because he doesn’t know how to swim and I don’t have anyone responsible for him. He went to a friend’s house on Saturday, saying he was going to play video games. Later I found out that they left with the bus at 3am on Sunday. He arrived here at 7am and this fatality happened to my son. I just want them to be found soon, my son, so we can go home — says Alessandra.
She said that she came to Rio with four family members in a car provided by the city of Resende, but she no longer had any support to remain in the city until her son was found. According to Alessandra, no one responsible for the tourism company made contact with the family.
— He didn’t bring any documents. It’s all on me. How did they let a minor board without documents? It’s an absurd. The woman who organized the tour was on that bus. She could have called me to inform me that my son drowned, but she didn’t tell me anything, she didn’t provide any assistance or solidarity. I found out from the mothers of Leonardo’s colleagues who came on the trip. I’m going to go to court, this couldn’t have happened — she says, indignantly.
Leonardo is a 1st year high school student. According to his mother, he is a studious, very happy teenager who loves playing football. For being a good player he has already received several trophies and medals in amateur competitions.
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To eat and sleep, Alessandra has counted on the help and solidarity of a stall owner, Vânia Santana, who sheltered Alessandra and the four relatives who came to Rio, in the house where she lives, in Santa Teresa.
— I was here on the beach, I went there to talk to her, because she was very shaken. I had nothing to eat or anywhere to go and I offered my house. I took everyone with me — says Vânia, who saw the moment Leonardo was swept away by the wave.
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— There was a first wave that arrived at the tent, but it wasn’t that strong. The boys were already in the sea. In the second, stronger wave, people started to scream, and the third took everything. It dragged a lot of people, a lot of chairs, umbrellas. I lost almost everything, my entire stock went away with the water — she reports.
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The waves took bathers and even those on the boardwalk by surprise. In one of the images, water advances across the sand, carrying bathers who were standing or sitting, as well as objects such as bags, chairs, umbrellas and coolers. In another recording, it is possible to see the sea arriving on the track.