WNEU honors 2 international students who drowned in Chicopee River

Hampden County

Western New England University held a service Thursday evening to honor the two Saudi cousins who lost their lives trying to rescue drowning children.

Jaser Al-Rakah and Theeb Al-Yami died after attempting to help two children having trouble staying afloat in the Chicopee River this past July.

Family members from Saudi Arabia attended the ceremony as well as a family member of one of the children who survived. 

David Sepanek, the grandfather of one of the children who were saved told 22News, “Those two men gave up their lives and saved my grandson and another friend of his and to wonder what anyone else would do at that particular time, hopefully, I’ll never have to know but we’re forever grateful as a family.”

Al-Rakah was a junior majoring in Civil Engineering at the university. Degrees were awarded posthumously to the family members of both young men. 

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