Northwestern Univ. crew member from Wash. falls overboard, drowns

Mohammed Ramzan (Photo courtesy of Allie Goulding/The Daily Northwestern)

LINCOLNWOOD, Ill. - Officials say a member of Northwestern University's crew team has been found dead after falling overboard while practicing in suburban Chicago.

The school says in a statement authorities recovered the body of 19-year-old Mohammed Ramzan on Monday from the North Shore Channel in Lincolnwood. Officials say a coach in a separate boat and a fellow team member went into the water in an unsuccessful rescue attempt.

The school says he was a freshman from Auburn, Washington. An autopsy is planned.

Northwestern University says the boat had nine people aboard when Ramzan fell Monday morning. The Lincolnwood fire department says the coach and team member who tried to rescue Ramzan were taken to a hospital for evaluation after being in the cold water.

Ramzan disappeared beneath the surface after the unsuccessful rescue attempt, and severe weather delayed the search for him as crews waited for lightning to pass. The strong current and murky waters contributed to the difficulty of their task.

"We put the boats in the water with sonar, and that gives us the best possibility of making a find," Chief Jim Walters of the Skokie Fire Dept. told the local ABC affilitate station. "Lack of information has been our biggest problem - where the person went into the water. We never got a solid definition of where they went into the water, so working kind of blind that way."

Officials said the crew team does not wear life jackets or personal flotation devices due to the nature of the sport. A life jacket or flotation device would restrict movement.

He was a recent graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School in Auburn, friends said.

Crew is a club sport at Northwestern University.

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