Two Saudi students were swept away by the current while trying to save two children from drowning in the Chicopee river, Massachusetts, US.
The students, Theeb Alyami, 27, and Jaser Alrakah, 25, were cousins studying at a local college in Massachusetts and were getting ready to graduate next month. The bodies of the Saudi students were recovered after extensive search.
The children were playing in the water and were caught in the current, according to reports. Several adults tried to help the children, but failed, the report said.
“On Friday my brother and his cousin were on a picnic next to the river when they saw a mother in distress trying to save her children, who now because of my brother and cousin are alive and have already been discharged from the hospital,” the brother of one of the Saudi victims told the Saudi newspaper Sabaq. “The American media are referring to them as heroes.”
A State Police dive team and air wing helped in the search of the Saudi students. One of the victims was recovered on Friday. The search for the second victim stopped at sunset Friday, and resumed Saturday to no avail. On Monday morning, authorities found the body of the second victim.
Alrakah was an engineering student at Western New England University. Alyami was enrolled at the University of Hartford in a civil engineering program. The two universities issued statements in which they expressed their condolences to the Yami and Al Rakah families. The two universities affirmed that they appreciated the heroic stand of the two students who died while helping others and expressed their full solidarity with the families of the deceased.
University of Hartford President Greg Woodward issued a statement to the campus mourning his loss. “We will mourn this terrible loss together. In the days ahead, we will work with Theeb’s family to determine the most appropriate way to honor his memory,” the statement read.