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Friday, July 22, 2016

Sabrina Alibhai and Gift Diji remembered on Facebook after 5 years #HNNmemorial

Sabrina and Gift (Facebook)
Many people may not remember but Sabrina Alibhai and Gift Diji were best of friends who drowned in a birthday tragedy in 2011 while I still lived in Canada. Gift was the sister of my friend Sampson Diji a well known male clothes designer in Toronto. It became 5 years this July 19th 2016. I remember building them both a Facebook memorial page and I updated it days ago. Pls drop a condolence message there.

Sabrina Alibhai, 15, and Gift Diji, 16 — both of Richmond Hill — tragically drowned at Musselmans Lake on July 19, 2011.

“I told them stay near the shore. If something happens, stay on the boat. Don’t get out of the boat and you will drift to the shore,” a devastated Nash Alibhai — Sabrina’s father — told Richmond Hill’s Sun-Tribune at the time.

The two girls fell out of a dinghy and members of the York Regional Police force’s marine unit found their bodies 30 metres off the north shore at 4 a.m. the next day.

It all started when Sabrina and Gift wanted to have some fun out on the water.

They convinced Sabrina’s father to let them use the family dinghy.

“Papa, I’m an excellent swimmer and I know how to swim ... Don’t worry, papa. Don’t worry.” Sabrina told her father.

Walking by many no-trespassing signs, the girls dragged their dinghy through a wooded trail to an abandoned property where there was access to the water. They left their flip flops behind and, using fence posts they found as paddles, set off without lifejackets around 6 p.m.

Sabrina’s father checked up on them every 30 minutes to make sure they were okay.

Area resident Kyle Jenkins spotted the teens in their blue and white dinghy just after 7 p.m. when he was out on the water with his daughter.

“I said ‘Hi’ to them,” Jenkins recalled shortly after the double-drowning. “And I commented on how nice of a night it was and how good the water was.”

After water-skiing with friends, Jenkins and his daughter had returned home.

As he was pulling his boat out of the water, he noticed both girls were in the water and the dinghy was floating away from them.

“As I’m watching, it became evident they weren’t swimming, they were actually having trouble and one girl yelled: ‘Let go of me. You’re pulling me under!’”

The girls disappeared below the surface. Jenkins alerted a passing boat, pointing to where he last saw the girls.

Jenkins also tried to lower his boat so he could help.

“It takes 20 or 30 seconds to lower this (boat) and in that 20 or 30 seconds I watched two kids die.” said Jenkins. “We just couldn’t get to them fast enough.”

No one really knows how the girls ended up in the water but Sabrina’s father blamed a speed boat for creating a wake that caused Gift to fall into the water, and Sabrina went in after her.

Friends said that Gift was not a strong swimmer and knowing Sabrina she would have gone in after her to try and help.

Sabrina was buried two days later — on what would have been her 16th birthday.

With files from the Toronto Sun (2013)

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