NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Authorities on Wednesday recovered the body of a 25-year-old graduate student who died when a sailboat he was on with nine others capsized in the James River last week, bringing the death toll to two in the group affiliated with NASA’s Langley Research Center.
The Virginia Marine Police said a commercial fisherman recovered Alexander Nicholas Brown’s body near the mouth of Deep Creek where it intersects with the Warwick River in Newport News.
Virginia Marine Resources Commission spokesman John Bull said Brown’s body traveled about a nautical mile from where he fell into the water Thursday during a late-night cruise that followed a party with his colleagues in Newport News.
Brown was a University of Maryland graduate research assistant working for the National Institute of Aerospace, which does research work in conjunction with NASA. Brown lived in Newport News and was originally from Frederick, Md., according to his Facebook profile. The other victim, Tyler Lorenzi, 23, was an associate research engineer for the institute.
None of the six men and four women on board, who were in their 20s, were wearing life jackets at the time the 22-foot Venture overturned.
Police are still investigating why the boat capsized, Bull said.
Four of those who were on the boat clung to debris in the water for about four hours before making their way to shore and calling authorities. One of the four was Lorenzi, who was pronounced dead at Riverside Regional Medical Center several hours later.
The other five survived by treading water until rescuers reached them. They were treated at a hospital and released.
Authorities have impounded the Venture as part of the investigation. Police records show Brown was one of the sailboat’s owners along with Charles Cimet, a graduate research assistant from North Carolina State University at the institute who was also on the boat at the time in capsized. Police records indicated Brown and Cimet were roommates.
Brown’s Facebook profile picture shows him on a sailboat, and he listed sailing as one of his hobbies on his LinkedIn profile, along with biking, woodworking and music.
The Coast Guard said that the water temperature was 57 degrees Friday morning and that conditions at the time the sailboat capsized showed there was a light breeze with waves probably at a foot or less.
Bull said emergency responders were able to respond quickly to rescue the survivors because of a previously scheduled training exercise in the area.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)