He Planned His Proposal in the Bahamas. Then Came the Wave

19-year-old Jonathan Brussow tragically killed in freak accident on island of Eleuthera
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2018 7:15 AM CDT
He Planned His Proposal in the Bahamas. Then Came the Wave
Hard hats hang from a post on a beach in north Eleuthera in the Bahamas on Oct. 2, 2015.   (AP Photo/Ben Fox)

"God brought Jonathan in with a storm and took him back in a storm." That's how the family of 19-year-old Jonathan Brussow describe his death earlier this month in the Bahamas, just after he'd asked the family of his girlfriend for permission to marry her. Athena Williams tells People and FOX 17 that the Michigan man she met at a party in middle school was vacationing on the island of Eleuthera with her and her family when, on March 4, he secretly asked her family if he could marry her. Early the next day, Brussow and Williams' brother went for a hike, and as they were resting on a cliff, a wave came out of nowhere and swept the two men into the water below. Williams' brother was badly hurt but managed to get to shore, where he ran for help. Brussow, however, was nowhere to be found, and his family flew out from the US to help Williams, her family, and the locals search for him.

On March 9, an 8-foot-deep depression filled with water near where the men were swept away dried up, and Brussow's body was found, MLive.com reports. The $21,000 raised on GoFundMe to help in the search for Brussow—described as the "most beloved kid" on his high school swim team before he graduated in 2016, per WZZM—will now be put toward bringing his body home, offering funds to those who helped look for him, and putting warning signs and safety gear near where the wave took his life. In a statement, his family notes how Brussow had been born in a wild storm on May 31, 1998, and that "those that knew him well knew he lived his life with a storm of passion." As for Williams, she tells People: "I would give anything to be able to have him here and be able to marry him and spend the rest of my life with him. … I wish we had more time." (A rogue wave killed twin sisters in Cabo.)

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