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Families of Drowned Saudi Students, Hailed as Heroes by President Trump, File Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Wilbraham, MA-Based Dam Operator

Boston, Massachusetts –The families of two Saudi Arabian college students who gave their lives to help save two drowning boys in the Chicopee River in June 2018, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner and operator of the Red Bridge hydroelectric dam located in Wilbraham, Massachusetts. The case has received global attention, including from President Trump, who hailed both Saudi students’ heroic actions as having “exemplified tremendous courage by putting their own life at risk.” 

The two Saudi students, Theeb Al-Yami, 27, and Jaser Al-Rakah, 25, jumped into the Chicopee River on June 29, 2018, to help save young children who were suddenly swept away by the fast-rising current when the dam released water without warning. In the process of helping to save the children, the two Saudi students were overcome by the current themselves and swept away. The young boys were ultimately saved, but the two Saudi students trying to help them perished in the churning waters.

Cynthia Hazar Fareed is the lawyer representing the deceased students’ families.  “This lawsuit will honor their sons’ selfless, heroic, life-saving actions. These were two foreign students who helped save two young boys’ lives, boys who they didn’t even know but were clearly drowning. Our goal is to ensure that a similar tragedy does not befall others.” 

The families of the young boys who were saved have joined the lawsuit, which alleges the dam owner and operator were negligent in how they managed the flow of water and for failing to warn members of the public in a recreational area just below the dam about the release of water.

The lawsuit, filed by the law firm Lubin & Meyer, P.C., along with New York-based attorney Cynthia Hazar Fareed, contends that the hydroelectric dam owner, Central Rivers Power MA, LLC, and dam operator, Ware River Power, Inc., failed to act with reasonable care for the safety of the public, creating a horrific ordeal for those who almost drowned, and causing the unnecessary and preventable deaths of two promising men.  

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