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UHart student drowns in Chicopee River; University releases statement 

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WILBRAHAM, Mass.  — Two Saudi Arabian students who were swept away in the current of a Massachusetts river have been identified.

Authorities say 27-year-old Theeb Alyami of Hartford, Connecticut and 25-year-old Jaser Daham Alrakah of Springfield drowned when the current of the Chicopee River in Wilbraham swept them beneath the current last week.

Alrakah was an engineering student at Western New England University. Alyami was enrolled at the University of Hartford in a civil engineering program.

The Hampden District Attorney’s office says Tuesday both students attended local colleges.

Police responded to the river on Friday for multiple swimmers in distress. The bodies of the two students were recovered Friday and Monday.

UHart President Greg Woodward released the following statement:

Dear Members of the UHart Community,

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I write to tell you of a tragic loss. University of Hartford student Theeb Alyami passed away in an accidental drowning in Massachusetts on Friday.

Theeb, an international student from Saudi Arabia, was a senior studying civil engineering. A contributing member of our vibrant community, he was attending UHart after earning sponsorship of his educational experience by the Cultural Mission of Saudi Arabia.

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. For now, I ask that you keep his family and friends, as well as our CETA colleagues, in your thoughts and prayers as they begin to cope with this tragedy. If you are in need of support or grief counseling resources, please reach out to the dean of students office at deanofstu@hartford.edu.

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