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Friends and neighbours of an Ottawa man who died while on vacation in Cuba are raising money to pay for the return of his body to Canada.

Forty-year-old Yue Liu drowned last Wednesday after he and his seven-year-old son were caught in a current while playing in the ocean at a beach resort in Varadero.

Another Canadian tourist who heard Liu's screams for help jumped into the water and rescued the boy, but the father was dragged deeper into the ocean.

A resort lifeguard and other Canadian vacationers managed to pull Liu back to shore, but he couldn't be revived.

Liu, who moved to Canada from Beijing, was in Cuba with his wife Fanyan Bu and their two children.

Bu and her kids have since returned to Ottawa, where members of the Chinese community have started a campaign to raise money to return Liu's body to Canada and pay for his funeral.