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Body of 19-year-old Northwestern crew member recovered - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

Body of 19-year-old Northwestern crew member recovered

By Jennifer Johnson and Susan Berger / Pioneer Press (TNS)

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The body of a 19-year-old member of the Northwestern University men’s crew team has been recovered, according to a statement from the school.

The body of Mohammed Ramzan was pulled from the North Shore Channel in Lincolnwood, Ill., according to an emailed statement from Northwestern. The school was notified by police and fire department officials.

Ramzan, who was in his first year at Northwestern, had been missing since he fell overboard Monday morning while practicing with the school’s club crew team, the statement said.

A search for Ramzan, who was from Auburn, Wash., had been ongoing since early Monday morning.

“We extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Mohammed’s family and friends for this tragic loss,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin in the statement. “The loss affects us all, and we urge all members of our community to reach out and support one another.”
Earlier, officials said the search for him had changed from a rescue to a recovery mission.

Lincolnwood Fire Chief Mike Hansen said the crew member fell into the water near the 6600 block of McCormick Boulevard in suburban Lincolnwood around 7:35 a.m. The university’s Twitter account posted around 1:20 p.m. that the search was ongoing.

During a press briefing shortly before 2 p.m. on Monday, Skokie Fire Chief Jim Walters said the search had turned from a rescue to a recovery mission.

“Lack of information has been our biggest problem,” he said at the time. “We haven’t gotten a solid definition of where they went into the water, so we’re working kind of blind that way. We’re doing the best we can, but that makes the area that much bigger that we have to cover.”

Walters added that it remained unclear how the student fell out of the boat.

A statement released to the media from Alan Cubbage, the school’s vice president for university relations, said that the student fell from the team shell while practicing near Pratt Avenue and McCormick.

The statement said the team’s coach, who was in a separate boat, and another team member both dove into the water “in an effort to rescue the student.”

Hansen said the water in the channel where the student fell is swift-moving.

Emergency vehicles from multiple suburban agencies lined the northbound lanes of McCormick Boulevard as the search of the North Shore Channel continued into the afternoon. Police directed pedestrians to the west side of the road and away from the emergency crews.

The statement from Cubbage said that the school’s crew team is a club, not a varsity, sport.
“Northwestern has had a club crew since the 1980s, and no serious incidents have occurred during that time,” the statement said. “The boat involved had nine students in it – an eight-man shell with a coxswain.”

Cubbage said it was not immediately clear what caused the student, who was one of eight rowers on board, to fall out of the boat.

The crew started the day on the channel at the Skokie Park District’s Dammrich Rowing Center 3220 Oakton St., Cubbage said.

“They practice several mornings a week on the North Shore Channel,” he said.
Northwestern University’s psychological services staff is available for students affected by the incident, Cubbage said.

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(Pioneer Press is a publication of the Chicago Tribune.)

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Body of 19-year-old Northwestern crew member recovered