UTA student identified as possible drowning victim

Mathematics doctoral student Alan Amaya, 23, was found dead after police responded to a possible drowning early Saturday. Flowers were tied to a bridge Saturday on Greek Road Drive leading into Doug Russell Park. 

Mathematics doctoral student Alan Amaya, 23, was identified as the man that died Saturday after reportedly being swept away by rushing storm water.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner did not release Amaya's manner or cause of death as of Sunday morning, according to its website.

Amaya was a graduate teaching assistant within the Department of Mathematics since fall 2017 and was active in intramural sports, Chief Communications Officer Joe Carpenter said, in an email.

“On behalf of the entire UTA Maverick family of students, faculty, staff and alumni, I express our heartfelt condolences to Alan’s parents, family and friends. The UTA staff have been in close contact with Alan’s family to assist them in any manner that we can during this most difficult time. They and Alan’s friends are in our thoughts and prayers,” UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said in a statement.  “At times like this I encourage all of us to come together to support each other."

As of Sunday morning, donations from friends and family have exceeded the original GoFundMe's goal of $5,000.

Student Affairs has made available counseling services that can be requested through Counseling and Psychological Services, Carpenter said.

Amaya was found dead at about 1:50 a.m. Saturday, nearly two and a half hours after police responded to the scene. He was found more than a quarter of a mile away from where the water overpowered him on Greek Row Drive, said Lt. Mike Joiner, Arlington Fire Department spokesperson.

A witness stated that Amaya was swept under a bridge by rushing waters on Greek Row Drive, Joiner said. He said witnesses indicated he was swept by the water into a creek behind the Physical Education Building, which flows under the road.

On the bridge on Greek Row Drive Saturday afternoon, white daisies and yellow sunflowers were tied to the worn metal railings. Behind them, the rush of murky green water splashed against pieces of cement, cutting through the wet dirt.

The circumstances of the possible drowning are unknown and the investigation is ongoing and being led by UTA Police.

UTA Police were assisted by the Arlington Police Department, the Arlington Fire Department and the fire department swift water rescue team.

Joiner said even for professionals like the swift water rescue team, finding the body was difficult.

“I don’t recall a drowning like this,” he said. “Nothing like that.”

He said throughout the Metroplex, places were flooding that typically didn’t see that type of water.

Arlington experienced 5 to 7 inches of rain, but low lying areas like on Greek Row Drive are susceptible to flooding.

The area was under a flash flood warning from 9:51 p.m. Friday to 3:45 a.m. Saturday morning, said Juan Hernandez, National Weather Service meteorologist. Warnings like these are put out when it rains quickly without stopping.

“The grounds just can’t handle the amount of rain, leading to quick rises in water level,” he said.

These flood waters don’t rise slowly, he said.

Priyank Amin, mechanical engineering graduate student, said he was walking to his on-campus apartment from the Maverick Activities Center around 9 p.m. Friday.

He said as he trudged through the calf-high water, he couldn’t tell where the sidewalk ended and the road began.

Unlike Amin, Ketaki Kumbharkar, computer science graduate student, stayed inside her Meadow Run apartment  as the water quickly rose outside her window.

She said the water never reached inside her first-floor apartment but it did come close to the hallway stairs.

 "I was scared," she said.

This story is developing and more information will be presented as it is made available.

@SamanthaDouty

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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