Man drowns after helping rescue 8-year-old from river

A Coralville man drowned in the Iowa River after jumping in to save an 8-year-old child on Friday evening.
Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 5:39 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG/Gray News) - An Iowa man is being called a hero after authorities said he drowned helping to save an 8-year-old child who was struggling in the river.

The Joint Emergency Communication Center got a report at 6:07 p.m. Friday of a possible drowning in the Iowa River in rural Johnson County, according to KCRG.

At the scene, law enforcement learned that an adult male, later identified as 42-year-old Wegayewu Faris, was missing after he rescued an 8-year-old child. Faris’ body was found at 7:10 p.m. following a recovery operation.

Wegayewu Faris, 42, worked as a custodian at Iowa City High School. Authorities say he drowned...
Wegayewu Faris, 42, worked as a custodian at Iowa City High School. Authorities say he drowned after helping save an 8-year-old child who was struggling in the river.(Courtesy: Iowa City Community School District)

Bystanders say that the 8-year-old child went into the river and struggled. Faris swam into the river and attempted to save the child. A kayaker was able to help, saving the child from the river.

But Faris sank below the water. The kayaker and another person searched for him but couldn’t find him.

Witnesses performed CPR on the child, who was later taken to University of Iowa Hospitals.

Faris was from Coralville, Iowa, and worked as a custodian at Iowa City High School. He and the rescued child are not related and were visiting the park with separate families.

City High Principal John Bacon announced Faris’ death on Twitter, writing that he was, “a kind, amazing person. He drowned saving the life of a young child. A hero.”

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

The Johnson County Medical Examiner, Johnson County Conservation, Johnson County Emergency Management, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa State Patrol, Hills Fire Department and Lone Tree Fire Department helped the sheriff’s office at the scene.

Copyright 2022 KCRG via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.