Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — A Saudi female university scholarship student had a tragic end when she fell into a creek in the US state of Montana on Monday.
The 28-year-old Atheer bint Abdul Rahman Al-Khalban, drowned after falling into a creek at Glacier National Park and being swept into a gorge, according to US media reports. The Saudi Embassy in the United States is making the necessary procedures to repatriate the body to the Kingdom at the earliest.
Atheer, a Jazan University scholarship student, was pursuing her studies for a PhD in English language in the US state of Kansas, fell from a rocky overhang into Avalanche Creek on Monday afternoon. The woman was spotted in the creek passing under the bridge of Trail of the Cedars near bystanders who waded into the water to pull her out. They performed CPR and called 911. Emergency responders declared her dead at the scene, according to a statement from the Montana National Park Service.
Mohammad Al Khalban, the brother of the deceased, said that his sister’s body will be flown on the earliest flight to be buried in her home country. The US authorities notified the Saudi embassy, which is arranging for her body to be transported from Kansas to Los Angeles and then flown to the Kingdom, he said.
The Saudi Social media were buzzing with the news of the demise of Atheer. She reached the tourist destination, together with a number of friends from Kansas. Avalanche Creek gives visitors an up-close view of the amazing power of glacially melted water as it rushes through the narrow gorge. Located in northwest Montana and featuring more than 700 miles of trails, Glacier National Park is full of melting glaciers, valleys and lakes. It covers over 1,500 square miles and includes 175 mountains.
Abdullah Khalban, Atheer’s relative, said she died after falling into the river during a trip with her friends. He posted an obituary on his official Twitter account, saying: “We belong to God and to Him we shall return. With great sadness and sorrow, and with hearts believing in God’s will and destiny, the daughter of my cousin Abdul Rahman bin Salem bin Khalban has died. We ask God to shower upon her the vastness of His mercy and pleasure, and to accommodate her in His Paradise and to give patience, solace and tranquility to her family and relatives to bear with the loss.”
Speaking to Al-Arabiya.net, Abdullah said: The family was devastated by the shocking news of Atheer’s death. The news was painful for the family, who had long waited for Atheer to return from the US with her PhD in English. He said that Atheer did not return to her family in the Kingdom for more than a year because of her studies. He noted that she left for higher studies under the foreign scholarship program along with her brother.
Meanwhile, Jazan University offered condolences over the tragic death of its student Atheer. The spokesperson of the university posted on the university’s official Twitter account the condolences of the university president. He wrote: “President of Jazan University Marai Al-Qahtani, and the university’s employees offer their sincere condolences to the bereaved family members of the scholarship student, Atheer bint Abdul Rahman Al Khalban…”