Retired astronaut dies in jet ski crash at Pensacola Beach

It’s not all that often that boat accidents make national headlines. However, when they involve retired astronauts and tragic circumstances, it’s a little different. A retired NASA astronaut died in a personal watercraft crash off of Pensacola Beach over the weekend. The crash appears to have occurred when another family member crashed into his jet ski.

The 51-year-old retiree was riding on a jet ski with his 22-year-old son in Little Sabine Bay on Sunday afternoon. They were on the personal watercraft when it was stuck in the rear by another jet ski, this one operated by the man’s 26-year-old son.

The man was thrown from the jet ski into the water. He was pulled out and friends apparently performed CPR on him on the beach. He was then airlifted to Baptist Hospital on a Lifeflight helicopter. Sadly, he died of his injuries at the hospital.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, neither of the man’s sons were injured in the accident. Per standard procedure, the FWC is launching an investigation into the accident, which occurred in the early afternoon hours.

According to a FWC spokesperson, the commission gets involved and begins an investigation anytime there is an accident of this sort. It’s unclear if any charges could be pending at this time.

The retired astronaut had a distinguished career at NASA. In 2008, he piloted the Atlantis shuttle to deliver a module to the International Space Station.

Source: Pensacola News Journal, “Astronaut Alan Poindexter dies in accident at Pensacola Beach,” July 2, 2012