UConn student dies after being pulled from Mirror Lake on Storrs campus

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STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) — UConn police and fire crews pulled a student out of Mirror Lake on the Storrs campus Monday afternoon.

Officials say the student was found at the shallow area of the lake and was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The student has been identified as 19-year-old Tianyin Shang from Shanghai, China. The university says Shang was a second year student majoring in applied mathematics and a member of the equestrian team.

The cause of death has not been determined at this time. Foul play is not suspected.

The university released a statement to the campus saying in part, “Her loss touches all of us in different ways. Our grief for Tianyin’s loss – no matter how well we knew her — will impact us in a myriad of ways.”

“It is really sad; I live in the oaks, and I have to walk by this every single day, I can still see the footprints where everything happened, and people put flowers up by the tree so it’s like really sad.”

– Thi Nguin, UConn junior

Colin Ladd drove by Mirror Lake on his way to move into the dorm on campus for the first time on Monday. He told News 8 he was passing the scene as crews pulled Shang’s body from the water.

“I don’t really know anything about the student who drowned or anything like that, but it’s still shocking, especially on my first time being here.”

– Colin Ladd, UConn student

It happened in broad daylight, in the early afternoon on Monday. No one is sure exactly what happened, as they wait for the autopsy results, but investigators assure students they are safe, and they do not believe foul play was involved.

“When you hear about this, at first you don’t assume worst-case-scenario, so I was like ‘OK I hope it’s just an accident,’ but then we got the email, and I was really saddened by it.”

– Khori Francis, UConn freshman

If you look at the snow around the lake, there is a path worn between the hole in the lake where Shang was found and a makeshift memorial underneath a nearby tree.

Students have been coming to the tree to pay their respect to remember Shang.

“I feel bad for all of the students, friends. Everyone who is impacted, because it is such a sad loss.”

– Chad Williams, UConn freshman

“It’s sad, it’s the beginning of a semester, it’s a bad way to start off the school year in the new year, too.”

– Thi Nguin, UConn junior

UConn has been in touch with Shang’s family. Counseling is available to students at the university’s Student Health and Wellness Center. Students can also contact counselors-on-call at 860-486-4705.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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