Money to help family of man who drowned

A GoFundMe account started by the best friend of the 23-year-old Rwandan student who apparently drowned Saturday night at a celebration west of Cortland has raised more than $8,000 to help his family.

Pacis Bana of Oskaloosa, Iowa, said the funds will be used to help the family of Jean Yves Ishimwe with returning his body safely to his home in Rwanda.

Jackson County Coroner Mike Bobb said Tuesday morning he did not have any new information concerning the cause of death for Ishimwe. Police have said there is no reason to suspect foul play.

Jackson County Officer Rick Meyer said in his report, Ishimwe, an intern at Cummins Seymour Technical Center and a student at the University of Michigan, was attending Alex Fest with about 100 others at a property owned by the Rust family, where he had been staying.

The annual event celebrates the life of the late Alexander Rust, who died of complications while recovering from typhoid fever at the age of 28 on May 28, 2013, while traveling in India.

According to a witness, Ishimwe went down a zip line that extended across a lake, followed by another man. A witness stopped watching at that point but heard a splash in the water followed by the second zip liner yelling.

Several people reportedly dove into the water to help pull Ishimwe from the lake.

Meyer arrived soon after and found Ishimwe on the shore with several people administering CPR. Meyer used an automated external defibrillator from his car on Ishimwe in conjunction with CPR until Jackson County Emergency Medical Services personnel arrived.

Ishimwe was then taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Bana, a high school classmate of Ishimwe, said Ishimwe was born in 1994 in south Rwanda and graduated first in his class from Petit Seminaire Virgo Fidelis in Butare, Rwanda, earning the Rwandan Presidential Scholarship to study in the United States.

Ishimwe attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, before transferring to the University of Michigan, where he was working toward an electrical engineering degree.

He also received the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center Most Outstanding Electrical Engineering Student award, in addition to having his research published in theĀ American Institute of Chemical Engineers Journal, Bana said.

“In his free time, Jean-Yves enjoyed playing soccer, playing classical piano music and listening to Karahanyuze music,” Bana said.

On the Web

To help the family of Jean Yves Ishimwe, donate at gofundme.com/jean-yves-ishimwe.

Author photo
Aaron Piper is a photographer and reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at apiper@tribtown.com or 812-523-7057.