By LeaAnne Klentzman
The Travis High School junior varsity football team has suffered their biggest loss since the school opened.
Early Friday morning, after practice, five Travis High School junior varsity football players left the school and decided to take a swim in the Brazos River near Richmond. The fun ended when 17 year old Benjamin Ola went under and was not seen again. According to Richmond Police Sergeant Lowell Neinast, Ola and his teammates had gone into the murky waters of the Brazos River near the end of Blaisdale Road not far off FM 359, just outside of Richmond.
Neinast said Ola’s friends told authorities that they had come to the river to cool off and swim after practice. Ola, a honor student and lifeguard, was last seen by his friends about 10 a.m. Neinast said his teammates reported that Ola came up for air, did not appear to be in trouble, then went back under water to swim. That was the last time they saw him. Minutes later when they could not find him, they called 911 for help.
Ola’s body was recovered in the river, just down stream, a few hours later by the Richmond Fire Department.
The Brazos River has a history of claiming lives said Neinast, the currents can be treacherous and the visibility is 0, not to mention all the debris that’s lurking under the surface.
The Ola family immigrated to the United State in 2004 for a better life where Benjamin Ola excelled in , as well as sports. He will be missed by both friends and family.
Fort Bend Independent School District cancelled all school activities to honor Ola and provided grief counseling for students at the school, if they chose to participate.