UPDATE: Teen brothers drown at Warren Dunes
BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) - Officials confirmed two brothers drowned in Lake Michigan this past weekend. Baroda-Lake Township Police said first responders found the teens Sunday night off the shore of Warren Dunes State Park.
A close friend of the victims identified the brothers as Ahmed and Saleem Qasem. A GoFundMe for the Qasem family stated they were students at St. Joseph High School in South Bend where Ahmed was a senior and Saleem was a sophomore.
Around 6:15 p.m. Sunday, police reported officers were sent to Warren Dunes regarding four juveniles struggling in the water after beachgoers heard yelling for help. Bystanders helped save two other South Bend-area juveniles from drowning.
35 minutes after arriving on scene, Lake Township Fire Rescue found the two brothers in the lake. Police said they were pronounced dead at the hospital after first responders tried life-saving efforts.
Officials told 16 News Now waves were roughly half-foot at the time of the incident, and the lake temperature was in the low sixties.
A friend of the Qasems said the brothers are being buried Monday night, when the traditional Muslim funeral prayer will be said.
On Monday, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend released a statement:
“The communities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Saint Joseph High School in South Bend are mourning the tragic loss of two students in a drowning incident in Lake Michigan on Sunday, May 15. Official reports indicate that the students were swimming at Warren Dunes State Park with two other juveniles when they went into distress. Efforts of first responders to revive the Saint Joe students were unsuccessful. We do not have information about the other two youths.
Saint Joseph High School Principal John Kennedy ensured that support and counseling were available to students and staff at the school today, and that support will continue to be available in the future. An all-school Mass was held this morning and a Divine Mercy Chaplet was held this afternoon.
‘One of our core values is Build Family,’ said Principal Kennedy. ‘This means standing beside one another through the sorrows as well as the triumphs. We will walk through this grief together and call upon our faith to guide and strengthen us at this time. We ask for your prayers for the family, our students, faculty, and staff.’
Bishop Kevin C Rhoades has asked for prayers from the community as well.
‘I extend my deepest condolences and those of our diocese to the family, friends, and classmates of these students and to the whole community of Saint Joseph High School. May the Lord grant you comfort and strength in your grief at the death of these beloved young people! We pray that the Lord will grant them eternal joy and peace in His kingdom.’
With respect to the family, we will not be releasing anything further at this time.”
Copyright 2022 WNDU. All rights reserved.