Child who died at High Falls State Park remembered, surviving br - CBS46 News

Child who died at High Falls State Park remembered, surviving brother speaks out

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

Just a day after his 12-year-old brother's death, James Burdette walked the exact route he took with his brother Christian.

It was here at High Falls State Park where they veered off the trail to go swimming in the falls -- like they've done so many times before.

"We go down towards here and we were actually racing," said Burdette. "We were racing down the steps."

He says he and Christian started down stream.

"We got taken all the way down and we said man this is about to be so much fun."

But things quickly made a turn for the worst. Trying to get closer to the top Christian fell into a whirl pool of currents.

"I knew that it was doing the suction cup thing and I pulled his hand, and I said you ain't going anywhere," said Burdette. "He said 'I'm going to die.'"

Christian was then pulled under and his older brother called desperately for help.

"A man walked up first and I said help call someone, I knew they couldn't hear me."

Hours later a dramatic rescue pulled James to safety. But the relief only lasted minutes before Christian's lifeless body was pulled from the water.

"I was just waiting for him to come up or someone to see him, and everyone to say it's okay but that never happened and now my little brother is gone."

Still speaking about his brother in present tense, James says Christian was always friendly, outgoing and loved motocross.

"I mean he's happy. He's having the time of his life right now."

James says they didn't know swimming in the falls was prohibited, but today his message to others is "don't do it, it can cost you a life."

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