Indian Immigrant Who Dreamed of Becoming a Trucker Dies in Act of Heroism
Reedley, CA – An Indian man who moved to America with a dream to own a trucking business died last week trying to save three children he had never met.
Manjit Singh was 29-years-old and had moved to America two years ago from the Gurdaspur district of Punjab, India with dreams of becoming a trucker.
“That was the main reason he came here, to help his family financially and to have a better life and live the American dream,” Gurdeep Sherigill, a spokesperson for Singh’s family, told ABC30.
Two months ago, he moved to Fresno, CA to put his dream into motion.
“Manjit was very happy to be in Fresno,” Malkiat Singh, who is Singh’s cousin and was with him at the time of his death, said to the Fresno Bee. “He was trying to become a truck driver. He had big dreams to buy his own truck.”
On Wednesday, August 5, Singh attended his first day of truck driving school.
Following class, he went with a group of friends to the Kings River at nearby Reedley Beach.
Shortly before 7:30 p.m., witnesses said they heard a distraught woman screaming.
Three children, who were playing in the water, had become swept away by the current.
“It happened very fast. The children had gone out too far. Manjit did not hesitate to save them,” Malkiat recalled.
“He removed his turban and attempted to use it as a rope to pull the children in but was quickly pulled under himself. He went in to try and help them and, unfortunately, went under water fairly quickly and never came back up,” according to Reedley’s Police Commander, Marc Ediger.
Authorities determined Singh went under as he was attempting to rescue an 8-year-old girl, later identified as Samantha Cruzpedro.
Samantha was visiting from Mexico and was at the river that day with some friends and their parents, multiple local outlets reported.
After Singh was pulled under by the current, Samantha remained underwater for approximately 15 minutes before she was pulled out.
She was rushed to Valley Children’s Hospital, where she remains on life support, police confirmed.
8yr old Samantha remains on life support at Valley Children’s Hospital. Her family is heartbroken by the Kings River tragedy. She was at Reedley Beach Wednesday with her two friends and their parents. Officers say the adults were attentive- but needed help rescuing them. pic.twitter.com/RzI44K2MRu
— Sontaya Rose (@SontayaRose) August 8, 2020
The two other children, whose identities and ages have not been released by authorities, were safely pulled to shore.
Rescue crews searched for Singh’s body for 40 minutes.
He was found next to some brush, close to the shore, ABC30 reported.
In the days following Singh’s death, Malkiat created a GoFundMe account in the hopes of raising enough money to send his cousin’s body back to India and to financially assist his parents.
As of publishing, over $150,000 has been raised.
In addition, a Change.org petition has been created to rename Reedley Beach after Singh.
It has racked up over 1,900 signatures in three days.
Singh is being hailed a hero in America, India and Mexico for his selfless sacrifice.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Multiple news outlets reported Malkiat as Singh’s brother-in-law. However, Malkiat identified himself as Singh’s cousin in the family’s GoFundMe page.
Additionally, other news outlets spelled Singh’s first name as “Manjeet.” Transportation Nation Network elected to follow the spelling put forth by his relatives on GoFundMe and refer to him as “Manjit.” Both spellings are appropriate and accepted.