The Thackurdeen family is hoping what happened to them doesn't happen to anyone.
Ravi Thackurdeen, the valedictorian of Marlboro High School, drowned while studying in Costa Rica in 2012 while he was attending college. In response, his parents have launched a website warning of the risks of traveling abroad and working with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney on legislation to give more people information about crimes and deaths that occur to students abroad.
Maloney has proposed The American Students Abroad Act and the Ravi Thackurdeen Safe Students Study Abroad Act that would update reporting requirements on universities and the State Department to help families make better decisions about where their students study abroad.
“What happened to Ravi and countless other students is terrible – as a parent, I can’t imagine how helpless you’d feel if something happened to your child while they were on the other side of the world,” said Maloney. “These situations are preventable – we just have to get important safety information into the hands of students and families before they decide where to study abroad.”
The American Students Abroad Act would require the State Department to generate quarterly reports from U.S. Embassies and Consulates on the death of any U.S. citizens in a foreign country. These reports would be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who would analyze trends in violence and issue reports.
After his death, the Thackurdeens learned that Costa Ricans do not swim at the beach Ravi drowned at, and it is considered one of the most dangerous beaches in the world.
Ravi tread water for 40 minutes, but no one had a telephone, safety device or rope to help him. His body was discovered two days later. Another student also got caught in a riptide, but was saved by a tourist.
“I thought Ravi was studying abroad’s first death,” his mother Ros, said. “I didn’t know what I would find.”
Ros began to research stories of students studying abroad, putting them in binders. She now has five binders and often calls other families who have lost their kids abroad.
"You're not alone," Ros tells them.
The Thackurdeens have since filed a wrongful death suit against the operators of the program, according to the Times Herald-Record.
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