Family of Niagara River drowning victim asks public to please stop sharing viral video: ‘I was devastated when I saw it’

It was a tragedy that shook Western New York this week. Two men, 29-year-old Mario Guthrie and 46-year-old Scott Vater, were collecting driftwood in the Niagara River Tuesday when Guthrie went in the river to get closer. Sadly, he began to drown, so Vater jumped in to save him and they were both taken under. It’s a terrible story just to read, but imagine seeing the drowning with your own eyes. That’s what the poor families of the two victims have had to endure after a video taken by someone at the scene has now gone viral.

“That video should have never been posted or shared. Death is not entertainment and the insensitivity of people was just cruel,” said Lisa Elibol, who shared a son, Hunter, with Vater. Sadly, their son passed away this year. “His daughter, Piper, and family should not have to endure more pain. She should have been protected from that. The focus should be on making sure his daughter is protected and surrounded with love.”

Elibol added that it’s not just about her family. She feels terrible for Guthrie’s family, too.

“I was devastated when I saw it . It has caused so much emotional trauma to our family. I wish people would think about the emotional damage to both families they are causing by sharing that.”

Instead of sharing the horrendous video, Elibol is asking the community to share the online fundraiser to raise funds for Guthrie’s daughter, Piper. You may share or make a donation here:

Elibol described her son’s father as a man who loved and adored his children. He had a great sense of humor and was a talented craftsman. He was a warrior and protector of the people he loved. A service for Scott Vater will be held 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Roberts Funeral Home on Bailey & Grover Cleveland in Amherst.

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