A second Clemson University student has died in the past week, after 19-year-old Tucker Hipps’s body was found in Lake Hartwell near the institution on September 22. A week later, on September 29, 20-year-old Kendall Wernet fell off a platform on the cruise ship Carnival Ecstasy as it pulled into port at the end of a three-day-cruise. Wernet died at around 8:30 AM that morning from his injuries.
The Clemson university student had reportedly climbed onto the platform, which Carnival said was a restricted area at the time, to catch a view of the sunrise with his friends. “They had seen a group up there the night before and thought it would be a good idea to go there at about 5 AM to see the sun rise over Miami,” said Steve Acorn, owner of Student Painters, the organization for which Wernet worked. The student was on the cruise as a reward for being a top performer in Student Painters.
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“They were up there talking ... and the radar system went on. Based on where you were standing, it caught Kendall and threw him down,” said Acorn.
Miami-Dade County Police said that Wernet had fallen about 20 feet before the cruise ship’s medical crew could attend to him. Wernet was then reportedly transferred to a South Florida hospital where he died from blunt-trauma head injury. Police said that there was no foul play suspected in Wernet’s death.
The death of Wernet is a huge blow to Clemson University, which has been mourning the death of student Tucker Hipps since his body was discovered in Lake Hartwell. Hipps had supposedly been out for a morning run with his fraternity brothers from Sigma Phi Epsilon, but disappeared and was found on September 22.
On Sunday, September 29, over 1,000 friends and family of Hipps gathered at the Clemson University student’s memorial services in Rock Springs Baptist Church to pay tribute to him. Local police are still investigating the circumstances of Hipps’ death but Sheriff Mike Crenshaw said that there has been no indication of foul play.