Father attempting rescue in Novi pool drowns with son

James David Dickson, and Candice Williams

Police have released the names of a 3-year-old boy and his 31-year-old father who drowned in the pool of their Novi apartment complex Tuesday afternoon.

Nagavaju Surepalli, 31, and his son Ananth Surepalli, 3, died of accidental drowning, according to the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office. The pair were playing by the pool around 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Glens of Northville apartment complex when the toddler fell into the water while riding his tricycle.

"The father entered the 5 feet of water to rescue his son and became a victim himself, as neither were experienced swimmers," police said in a statement Wednesday. "This particular pool does not staff a lifeguard and they were the only occupants in the pool area."

About 4:24 p.m. Tuesday, an employee of the apartment complex called 911 to report that two people were unconscious in the pool. First responders arrived and tried to rescue the two before they were transported to St. John Providence's hospital in Novi. The father and son were later pronounced dead at the hospital.

The pair's bodies were discovered by fellow residents of the apartment complex, who reported what they saw to apartment building staff, who called the police.

Surepalli and his son are from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India, police said. The family has been in the United States for three years on a H-1B non-immigrant Visa for work purposes. Surepalli is survived by his 29-year-old wife, Ananth's mother.

Investigators and the victims' relatives assisted the Consulate General of India, Chicago and New York offices with overseas family notification and funeral arrangements, police said.

GoFundMe account for the family raised more than $77,000 of a $150,000 goal as of Wednesday afternoon.

"Everyone who knows Naga would agree that he is one of the most jovial, honest, friendly person you would ever meet and always smiling," his friends posted on the fundraiser page.

Novi police are asking anyone with information on the drownings to call (248) 348-7100.