BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The sister of Steven Weber, the Zachary man who died while proposing underwater to his girlfriend at a resort in Tanzania last week, is speaking out.
Weber’s family has been in contact with the consulate there and remains hopeful Steven’s remains will return home soon so funeral arrangements can be made. The family announced funeral arrangements on Wednesday.
Mandy Hoffman says she will remember her brother for his smile.
“That was supposed to be the best day for both of them. And she lost that,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman says her brother and Kenesha planned to go on this trip to Africa to celebrate her birthday.
She says for months, Steven had been planning to pop the question and knew he wanted to do just that on the trip.
“[Steven] asked [Kenesha] to start videoing, and [Steven] ran back upstairs, jumped in, made the proposal. And from what we understand [Kenesha], ran back up to the top to go meet him, and he just never returned,” said Hoffman.
Mandy and Steven discussed how he was set to propose to his longtime girlfriend of 2 years on her birthday trip. However, Mandy had no idea how elaborate the proposal would be.
“He's a romantic. And I know in his mind, this was the best way to do this. So that Kenesha could have this memory forever. And I hate that this is the memory that she's going to have. But it was all done for her,” said Hoffman.
After the tragedy took place, Kenesha called Steven’s family.
Kenesha told them when Steven never made it up, the phones also weren’t working at the resort, and she jumped in the water to look for him, and screamed to get people's attention. That's when nearby boaters spotted her in disarray and started to help.
“[The boaters] found [Steven]. They brought him up to the surface, and they performed CPR. He had a slight pulse whenever they brought him, but they tried to do CPR and they just couldn’t bring him back,” said Hoffman.
Mandy says her family is devastated because Steven was such an amazing person.
“You don't have people like that come around here very often, and when you do, you need to just hold them tight. Just make sure you love those around with you with everything that you have. And that's how Steven was,” said Hoffman.
As for the love of his life, Kenesha.
"She’s part of our family now and I don’t ever want her to feel alone,” said Hoffman.
Steven did not have insurance, but a GoFundMe account has been set up by his classmates at Zachary High, to help with getting his body back here in the United States, along with funeral costs.