Vigil held for two missing UC Santa Cruz students swept out to sea

Byby Janet O KGO logo
Friday, January 22, 2016
Vigil held for two missing UC Santa Cruz students
Friends and family gathered to pay their respects to two UC Santa Cruz students that were swept out to sea at Bonny Doon Beach.

DAVENPORT, Calif. (KGO) -- Friends and family paid respects to the two U.C. Santa Cruz students swept out to sea. A large wave swept Shireen Ahsan and Suleiman Nourzai off a rock at Bonny Doon Beach on Monday. Now, their families are making a plea.

The pain and sorrow is still fresh for the family and friends gathered at the vigil.

Dozens turned out at a Palo Alto Park for a show of solidarity for 19-year-old Shireen Ahsan and 25-year-old Suleiman Nourzaie -- both sophomores at U.C. Santa Cruz. They were with a group of friends on Monday when they decided to climb down to Bonny Doon Beach. As they stood on a rock, a large swell swept them out to sea. A third friend survived and made it to shore.

The U.S. Coast Guard called off the search 22 hours later. They searched 46 square miles, but they tell us without any signs of life, their hands are tied.

READ MORE: Two Bay Area college students ID'd after being swept out to sea in Davenport

Family members say all they want is closure and have been searching themselves on foot and by air.

Shireen's cousin Jafer Baig said, "At least if we can find the bodies and give them an honorable funeral, that will mean a lot."

Prayers continue for the missing students and their grieving families.

Omar Nourzaie says his baby brother was a role model to many. He spoke at the vigil saying, "He had faith, he had principles, and he made everyone around him feel welcome."

Shireen was described as the light of her family.

Shireen's sister Yasmeen Ahsan told the crowd, "She was very adventurous and she just wanted to have fun all the time and just get out there."

Two lives lost too soon, but their love for others and love for life will always be remembered.