Report: Witness Tried To Save Obama Chef Before Drowning Accident

The unnamed witness said Tafari Campbell lost his balance on a paddleboard, fell into the water and was unable to find his bearing.

Tafari Campbell, the Obamas’ personal chef who drowned near their Martha’s Vineyard estate, was paddleboarding with another person who tried to rescue him, reports.

According to the unnamed witness, Campbell was standing on his paddle board before losing his balance and falling into the water. After swimming to shore, the witness explained what happened to another bystander and 911 was called, the report read.

In his last moments, Campbell struggled to stay above water. He was not wearing a life jacket and was not leashed to the paddleboard at the time of his death.

After rescue teams were deployed that included divers and flight and boat crews, Campbell’s body was recovered on Monday (July 24) from Edgartown Great Pond “at approximately 100 feet from shore at a depth of about eight feet.”

Massachusetts State Police also confirmed in a statement that another paddleboarder attempted to save Campbell but “did not reach him in time.”

“The other paddleboarder then swam to shore and notified a person on shore of what had happened,” the statement read.

“That person placed a 911 call to the Dukes County Regional Emergency Communications Center, which initiated an immediate emergency search and rescue response by numerous public safety agencies,” the statement continued.

Following an autopsy,  no evidence was discovered to suggest that the death was suspicious, and “no trauma or injuries were found on Campbell’s body,” the MSP said.

The Obamas expressed their grief at the sudden death of Campbell who worked as a sous chef during their time in the White House. He became the family’s personal chef at the end of President Barack Obama’s two-term presidency.

“In the years that followed, we got to know him as a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter,” the Obamas said in a statement. “That’s why, when we were getting ready to leave the White House, we asked Tafari to stay with us, and he generously agreed. He’s been part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he’s gone.

“Today we join everyone who knew and loved Tafari — especially his wife Sherise and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin — in grieving the loss of a truly wonderful man.”

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