Wegayewu S. Faris

A father was fishing at a bank of the Iowa River on Aug. 5, 2022, in Lone Tree, Iowa, when an 8-year-old boy entered the water and, after he waded out deeper, struggled to swim. High school custodian Wegayewu S. Faris, 42, of Coralville, Iowa, tossed aside his fishing rod and entered the water after him. Faris waded and swam until he eventually reached the boy, and he put him on his back. Then he, too, struggled in the current. Faris and the boy were separated as the two were drawn toward the middle of the river. A kayaker in the river heard calls for help and saw the boy bobbing in the water. The kayaker paddled upriver and reached the boy, who by then was unconscious and not breathing. After performing chest compressions, the boy coughed up water, and the kayaker paddled him to shore and returned to the vicinity to search for Faris. The boy’s father also had entered the water at one point and safely returned to shore. The kayaker searched for several minutes for Faris but was unsuccessful. The boy was revived on the shore and taken to a hospital, where he recovered and was released the next day. Firefighters recovered the body of Faris an hour after the incident began. He had drowned.