Iowa State University releases review findings from fatal boating accident

River water surface ripples

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(Ames, IA) -- Iowa State University has released a summary of two separate reviews regarding a fatal boating accident earlier this year. On March 28th, an Iowa State Crew Club accident on Little Wall Lake in Hamilton County resulted in the death of two Iowa State students.

Derek Nanni and Yaakov Ben-David died after their boat capsized during a practice on the lake. Three other students in the boat survived.

The two reviews found that Iowa State University did not clearly define roles and responsibilities for effective oversight of the sports clubs, and the club's implementation of safety policies was severely deficient. Both failures led to a lack of safety, training, and support for the Crew Club.

The findings from both reviews indicated several safety standards were not properly implemented, such as the following:

  • Crew Club student leaders acknowledged wind speeds to be higher than acceptable limits, but still proceeded with practice.
  • Crew Club student leaders failed to respond to worsening weather conditions during practice.
  • No safety boat was used, and no team member or coach was on shore ready to respond to an emergency, even though it was required under the conditions.
  • Two team members were not experienced in rowing in the escalating conditions, violating the club's requirements.
  • Team leadership did not ensure that proper safety equipment or communication devices were available in the case of an emergency.

Iowa State University has suspended all Crew Club activities for the 2021-2022 academic year and will implement safety measures as recommended by the reviews.

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