Family and friends of Hellen Wendy Nyabuto, 24, are struggling to cope with the young woman’s drowning in a hotel pool in Canada on Thursday—a tragic end that was livestreamed. CNN reports the video livestreamed on Facebook (the footage has since been removed) shows Nyabuto, who was from Kenya and worked as a nurse at an elder care facility in Toronto. She is seen smiling into the camera before wading into the shallow end of the pool. After a little less than three minutes, the Toronto Star reports Nyabuto is seen moving "to the far end of the pool, where she appears to begin struggling frantically." She moves out of the frame but can be heard calling for help. Her body was discovered at the bottom of the pool nearly three hours later by two guests.
It's unclear what exactly went wrong, and the Star notes the uncertainty fueled "fake news" and speculation on social media that foul play was involved. Alfonce Nyamwaya, a close friend of Nyabuto’s who briefly spoke to her by video chat before her death, insists it was nothing more than a tragic accident. “Let the family mourn in peace. Let Hellen rest,” Nyamwaya said. He also said Nyabuto was the “breadwinner” for her family back in Kenya. The Nation quotes her father as saying, "Our lamp has been put [out]. She is the one who was supporting the family by paying school fees for the other siblings and it’s tragic." A GoFundMe campaign to bring Nyabuto's body back to Kenya has raised about $40,000. (Read more drowning stories.)