UVA Student Killed by Boat Propeller While Snorkeling on Final Stop of ‘Semester at Sea’

Casey Schulman was a University of Virginia (UVA) senior who was studying abroad as part of the school’s “Semester at Sea” program. The Washington Post reported that the 22-year-old spent 14 weeks visiting London, Portugal, Africa and the Amazon. On December 1, 2012, Schulman and other students were snorkeling during the ship’s final stop on the Caribbean island of Dominica. Police told the Dominican News Online that after picking up some food supplies, a boat owned by ANCHORAGE DIVE and captained by Richard Armour moved backwards and its propeller struck Schulman, who was still in the water.

The Dominican News reported that Schulman sustained injuries over her entire body and was transported to Princess Margaret Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Patricia Lampkin, UVA vice president and chief student affairs officer, told the Post that the recreational boating trip that led to Schulman’s death was organized independently of the “Semester at Sea” activities. More than 50 students participated in the study abroad program, which the Post said “uses a ship as a traveling campus.” Schulman was majoring in foreign affairs and had been on track to graduate in the spring.

The “Semester at Sea” program is run by the Institute for Shipboard Education on the MV EXPLORER cruise ship, and UVA began academic sponsorship of the program in the summer of 2006. According to the Associated Press, the University of Pittsburgh ended its nearly quarter-century sponsorship of “Semester at Sea” in 2005 because of concerns with the winter voyage ship and the program’s decision to visit Kenya despite a US State Department travel advisory. According to the New York Times, four American college students enrolled in “Semester at Sea” were killed in a 1997 bus crash during a side trip to India.

Recreational boating accidents where tourists are diving or snorkeling in foreign waters often end in fatalities because of the country’s lack of necessary trauma care facilities or life flight capabilities. In addition to representing maritime workers who sustain injuries in the United States, Latti & Anderson LLP also helps families who have lost loved ones in international waters. Our firm has secured several multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for clients, and you can find more information about cruise ship injuries on our website.

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