A 20-year-old American college student died in Myanmar after she was gravely injured by a fall while visiting an ancient religious city.
Kassandra Braun, from Fishers, Indiana, fell to her death on Tuesday while on independent travel to Bagan, an ancient city in Myanmar that is home to Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries. She was touring the country as a participant of the Semester at Sea program.
The junior at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, died from her injuries while in an ambulance en route to Mandalay General Hospital, the program said in a statement.
“We are deeply saddened to share the news of the loss of a member of our shipboard community,” the statement continued. “This afternoon (November 7, 2017) at approximately 1600 local time in Myanmar, Kassandra (Kassie) Braun, a student from St. Edward’s University, fell while on independent travel in Bagan.”
Braun’s parents, Chalene and Dave, released an emotional statement through the Summer at Sea program.
“The family is absolutely devastated by the tragic death of their daughter and sister, Kassandra ‘Kassie’ Braun,” the statement reads. “They are still waiting for further details about what happened but would like everyone to know that Kassie was having the time of her life on Semester at Sea and was living her dream.”
The family says Braun was “full of life and love,” and they mentioned her passion for helping others.
“She lived life the Holy Cross way hoping to someday give back as was given to her,” the statement continues. “Kassie’s family greatly appreciates the outpouring of love and support they have received and requests privacy as they mourn their loss and make arrangements for Kassie’s repatriation.”
Braun’s friend, Ebrahim Al Mutawa, wrote a heartbreaking post on Facebook in response to her passing.
“I’ve never met a girl that knew more about the sea & boats than me till I met you,” he wrote. “You were taken away too soon and didn’t deserve to go out like that.”
Braun was one of more than 550 students in the program planning to visit 10 countries on four continents in just over three months, including Germany, Spain, South Africa, India and Myanmar.
St. Edward’s University also released a statement following Braun’s death.
“We are deeply saddened to share with the St. Edward’s community that junior, SEU student Kassandra Braun, passed away during a tragic accident while studying abroad with Semester at Sea. Kassie was originally from McCordsville, Indiana and majoring in communication.”
“Kassie and her family, especially her brother Kavan, a St. Edward’s freshmen, will be remembered in prayer at a memorial Mass in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel on Wednesday, November 8 at 5:15 pm,” the statement continued.