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July 03, 2012

Ex-astronaut Poindexter dies in ski mishap

PENSACOLA, Fla. (UPI) -- Retired U.S. astronaut Alan Poindexter was killed after his personal watercraft crashed in Little Sabine Bay at Pensacola Beach, Fla., state officials said.

The retired NASA astronaut died Sunday of injuries he received after a watercraft one son was steering crashed into the water vehicle Poindexter was riding, the Pensacola News Journal reported Monday.

Poindexter, 51, and his son, Samuel, 22, were sitting on their vehicle when Poindexter's oldest son, Zachary, 26, crashed into them, Stan Kirkland, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman said.

Poindexter was removed from the water and taken to a beach where friends performed CPR, the News Journal said. He then was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.

His sons were not injured.

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was investigating.

While at NASA, Poindexter piloted the Atlantis space shuttle in 2008 to deliver the Columbus module -- a 23-foot-long cylindrical space lab -- to the International Space Station, and the Atlantis shuttle mission in 2009 to repair the Hubble space telescope. He also was a Discovery shuttle commander in 2010.

Poindexter was dean of students and executive director of programs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., at the time of his death.

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