A Brooklyn teenager who was comatose for three weeks following a near-drowning incident in Prospect Park Lake has died, his family announced Thursday.
Rikeverns “Ricky” Joassaint, 13, was pulled from the lake by bystanders after struggling to stay above the surface while swimming with friends shortly before 5:30 p.m. on June 13.
The middle-schooler spent three weeks “fighting for his life” at New York-Presbyterian/Brooklyn Methodist Hospital but succumbed to his injuries Wednesday.
“It is with deep sorrow and sadness that I announce the passing of Ricky,” the boy’s father, Sergo Joassaint, wrote in an update on the fundraiser set up to pay the teens’ rising medical bills.
Joassaint said Ricky “fought and held on” until his mother arrived from the Caribbean to be at his Brooklyn bedside.
“His mom was able to spend 1.5 days with him at the bedside, before Ricky became an Angel of God,” said Joassaint. “Thank you everyone for your donation. We are heartbroken. We ask for your prayers to help us during this painful and tragic part of life. Thank you again.”
Ricky was described by his family as a hard-working student in middle school who loved basketball, soccer, music, and playing video games with his 16-year-old brother.
The city’s medical examiner did not immediately return a request for comment to confirm the death.
Prospect Park Alliance, the private nonprofit organization which cares for the much-loved green space, said Ricky’s passing was a “terrible loss”.
“Our hearts are with his family during this exceedingly difficult time,” a spokesperson for the Alliance said, adding that the tragedy “stands as a reminder that while it may seem natural for people to want to swim in Prospect Park, swimming is strictly prohibited in Prospect Park and all water bodies where there are no lifeguards on duty.”