Coralville man drowns in Iowa River while helping rescue 8-year-old child

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A 42-year-old Coralville man drowned in the Iowa River on Friday while helping to rescue an 8-year-old child.

Wegayewu Faris' body was recovered at 7:10 p.m., about an hour after law enforcement officials received a call about a possible drowning.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office reported that the distress call came in at 6:07 p.m. about a possible drowning at River Junction Access in a rural part of the county. Officers who arrived discovered that the child had been rescued, that bystanders performed CPR, and the child was brought to University of Iowa Hospitals.

Officers also learned that one man who came to the child's aid was unaccounted for. They then found Faris in the water.

Witnesses told officers that the child entered the river and began struggling, and Faris went in to try to save him. A kayaker was able to get the child out of the water, but Faris submerged beneath the surface. The kayaker and another person attempted to find Faris but were unable to.

Faris and the child are not related, the sheriff's office said. They were members of separate families who had come to the river to go fishing. Officers are crediting Faris and the kayaker as being instrumental in saving the life of the child, whose condition was not reported.

On Saturday, Iowa City High School principal John Bacon posted on social media that Faris was a custodian at the school, writing: "A kind, amazing person. He drowned saving the life of a young child. A hero."

This incident is under investigation by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by Johnson County Conservation, Johnson County Emergency Management, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa State Patrol, Hills Fire Department, Riverside Fire Department, Lone Tree Fire Department, and the Johnson County Medical Examiner.

This article originally appeared on Iowa City Press-Citizen: Coralville man drowns in Iowa River while helping rescue child