Fundraiser started for family of Vernon doctor who drowned in Kamloops

Colleague initiates GoFundMe while search for man’s body continues

Michael Mthandazo drowned saving his son from the Thompson River July 30. (GoFundMe photo)

Michael Mthandazo drowned saving his son from the Thompson River July 30. (GoFundMe photo)

Help is being sought for a local family after the father drowned rescuing his son.

Michael Mthandazo was swimming with his son in the Thompson River near McArthur Island Park in Kamloops July 30.

“The water current started to speed up and although he was able to help his son out of the water, he wasn’t able to get out himself,” said Noha Fossen, who is raising funds for the family. “He was unfortunately swept away and his body has yet to be recovered.”

Fossen is a colleague of Mthandazo, a Vernon doctor who was the sole income earner, leaving his wife Julia to care solely for their two sons, ages 11 and eight months. Mthandazo had also previously worked in 100 Mile House. His patients took to the online site RateMD this week to pay tributes to the doctor, saying he was approachable, empathetic and a good listener with a great sense of humour.

“This is such a tragedy and with Julia’s blessings, we have started a GoFundMe page in hopes to alleviate some of the financial burden ahead,” said Fossen. “He was a family physician in town so his void will be immensely felt and the community really needs to pull through for his family and especially his boy who witnessed it all.”

Police said civilians attempted to assist but were unable to reach Mthandazo. Several boats in the area also responded but were also unable to find him. The RCMP Underwater Recovery Team was also involved.

“Kamloops RCMP would like to remind the public that the currents in the river are unpredictable and the riverbed contains many sudden drop-offs – caution should be exercised and PFDs worn when around moving water,” Staff-Sgt. Kelly Butler said.

Those who would like to help the family can do so at

With a file from Kelly Sinoski

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