Casey Schulman dies in Dominica boating accident

Schulman, 22, died while on a Semester at Sea program. Photo: Twitter

Painting the Beta Bridge at University of Virgnia is an experience that often marks both triumph and tragedy. On Monday, for members of the Alpha Phi sorority, with each drop of paint comes sadness and pain over the loss of Casey Schulman.

UVA student Schulman, 22, of Falls Church, was killed on the Caribbean island of Dominica when she was struck by a dive boat's propeller after a snorkeling excursion with other students, police said Sunday.

Police Inspector Richmond Valentine said she was killed Saturday afternoon as she and more than 50 other students visited Dominica as part of the school's "Semester at Sea" program.

Schulman interned at NewsChannel 8 and ABC7 in the summer of 2011.

In a statement released to students and faculty, Patricia Lampkin, University of Virginia vice president and chief student affairs officer, said Schulman's death occurred during a recreational boating trip organized independently of Semester at Sea activities.

Valentine said a group of students, including Schulman, hired a boat owned by local company Anchorage Dive. After a snorkeling excursion, the boat went to the west coast community of Mero where some students frolicked in the water and others relaxed on the beach.

Schulman was swimming when she was struck by the boat's propeller as the captain was apparently driving in reverse after picking up food, Valentine said.

She was pronounced dead at a local hospital. A commemorative service was planned aboard the Semester at Sea vessel on Sunday night, according to Lampkin's statement. The boat is scheduled to return to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday.

Lampkin said she has been in touch with Schulman's family. She said grief counseling and support services are being made available to members of the university community.

Lampkin says in a statement that Schulamn was an exceptionally bright light in and out of the classroom and will long be remembered as a vibrant member of this community.

Dominica is a lush, tropical island of some 71,000 people that brands itself as the Caribbean's "Nature Island."