Family members and friends of two University of California, Santa Cruz students swept out to sea this week held an emotional vigil Wednesday.
Authorities say the college students, Shireen Ahsan, a 19-year old from Palo Alto, and 25-year old Solaiman Nourzaie, of San Jose, were on a rock jutting into the ocean at Bonny Doon Beach in Santa Cruz County about 5 p.m. Monday when they were struck by a wave. The 22-hour search covered 46 square miles before it was suspended Tuesday, officials said.
The friends and family of the two UC Santa Cruz students gathered on a cliff at Bonny Doon Beach Wednesday to mourn for their loved ones. The vigil was held, first of all, to remember and honor the outstanding students, both members of the school's Muslim Students' Association.
"I'm devastated," said Agha Ahsan, Shireen's father, adding that the vigil was a "great comfort."
Family /friends of UCSC students swept to sea at #BonnyDoon #Beach hold vigil overlooking where it happened pic.twitter.com/1opHlecZil— RobertHanda (@RHandaNBC) January 20, 2016
Pic of student swept to sea at #BonnyDoon beach: 19-yr old #ShireenAhsan. Provided to #Nbcbayarea by family pic.twitter.com/ux1oCcZUFv— RobertHanda (@RHandaNBC) January 20, 2016
Pic of 25-yr old #SolaimanNourzaie: UCSC student swept into #sea at #BonnyDoon beach. Photo shown at vigil pic.twitter.com/BcLuE0Om6d— RobertHanda (@RHandaNBC) January 20, 2016
Large crowd gathers on #BonnyDoon Beach cliff for #vigil just starting for two students swept away Monday pic.twitter.com/Wf0ljlG5QN— RobertHanda (@RHandaNBC) January 20, 2016
Family members also pointed out El Niño is stirring up ocean conditions and urged others, especially young people, to be extra cautious.
"You have to be careful," Ahsan said.
Now that the official search has been called off, Ahsan said his family is mulling what to do next.