Monday July 2, 2012 16:05:44 EDT
New information is emerging from the ongoing investigation into the jet ski accident that left a retired Navy astronaut dead yesterday.
Capt. Alan G. Poindexter, 50, died Sunday afternoon after a personal watercraft crash in Little Sabine Bay at Pensacola Beach, officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported.
Poindexter had been riding on a personal watercraft with his 22-year-old son, Samuel. At about 1:30 p.m., Poindexter and his son were sitting still on the watercraft ski when Poindexter’s oldest son, 26-year-old Zachary, who apparently did not see that the two had stopped, crashed into them on a separate craft. Poindexter and his son were both ejected from their craft and into the water.
According to new information from the FWC, Poindexter was still conscious in the minutes following the accident and was able to speak.
He was talking and complaining about rib injuries but he lost consciousness, according to an Associated Press report.
“He was talking to them about injuries,” said said Stan Kirkland, an FWC public information officer.
Poindexter was driven to a nearby beach where friends performed CPR on him.
He was then taken by Lifeflight helicopter to Baptist Hospital where he later died from injuries suffered in the crash.
Poindexter’s sons were not injured in the accident, Kirkland said. The FWC has launched an investigation into the crash.
“We get involved anytime there’s a boating accident,” Kirkland said. “So we’re conducting an investigation, and that’s where we’re at right now.”
Kirkland said no charges were filed and a full investigation into the incident could take over six weeks.
An exact cause of death would be determined by the medical examiner.
In his own decade-long career with NASA, Alan Poindexter piloted two space shuttle missions. In 2008, he led the Atlantis space shuttle in to deliver the Columbus module to the International Space Station. In 2010, he commanded the space shuttle Discovery on a 13-day mission to deliver a multi-purpose logistics module to the International Space Station.
“Dex,” as he was sometimes called by colleagues is remembered as one of Pensacola State College’s most revered alumni. He received his associate’s degree in engineering from the college in 1983, and went on to Georgia Tech, where he received his bachelor’s degree with highest honors in 1986. He later received his master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Ca. where he and his wife are currently listed as residents.
In 2008, Poindexter was honored by the PSC after his historic Atlantis flight. During the mission, Poindexter carried the school’s medallion and seal with him.
“Alan Poindexter was very important to this school,” said PSC President Ed Meadows, Monday morning. “He was one of the most successful graduates of our college, so we mourn for him and his family.”
Meadows who knew the Poindexter personally, said the family often returned to Gulf Breeze each year to visit family.
“I was able to spend a good bit of time with Alan,” he said. “I can say, (he had) a true heart for the mission of NASA, a true heart for being helpful to the students…A true gentlemen in every regard.”
Motorcycle riding buddy and fellow pilot David C. Baker of Nashville said in their 12 years of friendship, there was rarely a time that Poindexter did not have a smile on his face.
“He was impetuously happy…I never saw him when he wasn’t happy,” he said. “He just enjoyed everything.”
Baker said before the time of the accident, Poindexter and his wife had been living in Monterrey, Calif., where Poindexter was working as a dean of the Post-Graduate Naval School.
The two friends spent several vacations, riding through different states in countries.
“There were times when he would just fly to wherever I was,” he said.
But in 2010, Baker said an infection after Poindexter’s return from space mission threatened to remove that smile. Baker said his light-hearted friend was hospitalized for several months after the mission. After which time, Poindexter retired from his post at NASA and moved with his wife to California.
“He was a great husband and father,” Baker said as his voice trailed off for a minute over the phone. “Just a good guy. Just a great representative of an American.”
Poindexter was the son of Iran-Contra figure and Reagan National Security Advisor, Adm. John Poindexter.
His wife, Lisa, is originally from Gulf Breeze. Her parents Ron and Carolyn Pfeiffer still reside there.
Alan Poindexter was born on November 5th, 1961 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Poindexter
November 5th, 1961
11 + 5 +1+9+6+1 = 33 = his life lesson = Captain. Bighearted.
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