Man who possibly drowned at Fresno waterpark remembered as caring father

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- By the time first responders arrived at Island Water Park, Sirenio Cortez had been pulled out of the wave pool and lifeguards had already started CPR.

An ambulance rushed the 46-year-old to Community Regional Medical Center, but he was pronounced dead.

"Appears that it was just a tragic accident or maybe some type of medical aid that occurred during the incident," Fresno Police Sgt. Diana Vega said.

"He wouldn't want me to be crying but it just hurts, you know," Cortez's daughter, Flor Cortez said. "I don't want to cry but it just comes out sometimes."

Cortez leaves behind five children, including his oldest, Flor.

Flor says her family drove to the popular Fresno waterpark to celebrate Father's Day.

But shortly after arriving, she and her father went separate ways.

After a while, she started to grow anxious, not knowing where he was.

She and her siblings started to search for their missing father and eventually, they alerted a manager, who told them their description matched the one of the man who was pulled out of the water.

Flor says they heard the sirens, but at the time, didn't think Cortez was in danger.

"We never thought our dad," Flor said. "Because he was a very good swimmer. He'd go to the river and he'd swim to the very deep and we'd go to the ocean and he'd swim into the very deep too."

Flor says her father worked hard in the fields to support his children.

They meant everything to him, and so did four-year-old granddaughter, Flor's daughter.

"To her my dad was always her dad, so you know I'd say, 'My pa,' and it was her pa too," Flor said.

An autopsy for Cortez took place on Monday, but it will still be some time before his cause of death is released.

Cortez's family has set up a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses.
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