Alan Poindexter, a former astronaut who worked with NASA, died on Sunday in a tragic accident on the water in Florida. He was 50-years old.
Poindexter and his sons were riding water scooters near Pensacola Beach when suddenly Poindexter stopped his craft, or perhaps the craft malfunctioned. His 26-year old son, Zachary, collided with him, and his scooter came up out of the water upon impact and hit Poindexter.
"They were both moving and for some reason Capt. Poindexter stopped his watercraft and Zachary for some reason didn't see him stop," said Stan Kirkland, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "Zachary's watercraft went up and struck Capt. Poindexter."
Poindexter was thrown from his scooter, as was his other son, Samuel, who had been riding with him. When he was taken out of the water he was conscious and mentioned that his ribs were hurt; he later lost consciousness, however, and died at the hospital.
NASA posted a statement about Poindexter's death on their Facebook page.
"The NASA family was sad to learn of the passing of our former friend, and colleague Alan Poindexter who was killed today during a jet ski accident in Florida. Our thought and hearts are with his family."
Poindexter became an astronaut in 1998 and served in two missions for NASA: a Space Station run on Atlantis and the second-to-last spaceflight of the Discovery shuttle. Hailed as a "well respected leader" by the NASA team, he leaves behind a courageous legacy; however, one cannot help but think of his family now, especially his sons.
No word yet on their condition, though the coroner expects to have an official cause of death for Poindexter soon.
Image credit: NASA