Ex-astronaut Poindexter dies in mishap

July 2, 2012 at 12:35 PM
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PENSACOLA, Fla., July 2 (UPI) -- Retired astronaut Alan Poindexter was killed in Florida when hit by a personal watercraft piloted by one of his sons, state officials said.

The retired NASA astronaut died Sunday of injuries he received when a personal watercraft driven by one of his sons crashed into one he was riding on with another son, the Pensacola News Journal reported Monday.

Poindexter, 51, and his son, Samuel, 22, were sitting on a personal watercraft in Little Sabine Bay at Pensacola Beach when Poindexter's oldest son, Zachary, 26, crashed into them, Stan Kirkland, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman, said.

Poindexter was removed from the water and taken to a beach where friends performed CPR, the News Journal said. He then was taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.

His sons were not injured.

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was investigating.

While at NASA, Poindexter piloted the Atlantis space shuttle in 2008 to deliver the Columbus module -- a 23-foot-long cylindrical space lab -- to the International Space Station, and the Atlantis shuttle mission in 2009 to repair the Hubble space telescope. He also was a Discovery shuttle commander in 2010.

Poindexter was dean of students and executive director of programs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., at the time of his death.

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