Vigil Held for UC Santa Cruz Students Swept Away by Huge Waves

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 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.

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