Greenwich Mourns As Investigation Begins Into Teen's Water-Tubing Death

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A somber William McKersie, Greenwich Public Schools superintendent, during a press conference Thursday about the boating-related death of 16-year-old Emily Fedorko.
A somber William McKersie, Greenwich Public Schools superintendent, during a press conference Thursday about the boating-related death of 16-year-old Emily Fedorko. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Greenwich Police Chief James Heavey talks during a press conference Thursday about the boating-related death of 16-year-old Emily Fedorko on Wednesday.
Greenwich Police Chief James Heavey talks during a press conference Thursday about the boating-related death of 16-year-old Emily Fedorko on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Greenwich Police Lt. Kraig Gray talks during a press conference Thursday about the boating-related death of 16-year-old Emily Fedorko.
Greenwich Police Lt. Kraig Gray talks during a press conference Thursday about the boating-related death of 16-year-old Emily Fedorko. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Capt. Raul Camejo, of the state environmental police, speaks at a press conference Thursday about the boating-related death of 16-year-old Emily Fedorko. Looking on are Capt. Pamela Gustovich, center and First Selectman Peter Tesei.
Capt. Raul Camejo, of the state environmental police, speaks at a press conference Thursday about the boating-related death of 16-year-old Emily Fedorko. Looking on are Capt. Pamela Gustovich, center and First Selectman Peter Tesei. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Greenwich police officers keep an eye on a water tube involved in a fatal boating accident Wednesday.
Greenwich police officers keep an eye on a water tube involved in a fatal boating accident Wednesday. Photo Credit: Greenwich Police Photo
A photo on Facebook of Emily Fedorko. She died in a boating accident in Greenwich on Wednesday.
A photo on Facebook of Emily Fedorko. She died in a boating accident in Greenwich on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Facebook

GREENWICH, Conn. -- It will take a considerable amount of time before an accident reconstruction report is finished into the boating death Wednesday of a 16-year-old Old Greenwich girl, the police chief said Thursday.

"We are in the very early stages of reconstruction," Police Chief James Heavey said at a press conference Thursday about the death of Emily Fedorko.

Police could offer few details about the case due to the ongoing investigation, said Heavey and Lt. Kraig Gray.

Emily Fedorko, who would have been a junior this fall at Greenwich High School, was identified as the victim killed in the water-tubing accident off Greenwich Point.  

She died after she fell off her tube and was run over by a boat while water-tubing off the coast of Greenwich Point, Gray said. 

"The operator of the boat made a turn to pick up the tubers when the boat collided with the two girls in the water," he said. The girls became entangled in the propeller. 

"The operator of the boat and the passenger immediately rendered aid to the victims, lifting them into the boat and immediately transporting them to the Old Greenwich Yacht Club dock located at the Greenwich Point Park," Gray said.

The unnamed 16-year-old friend who drove the boat was properly licensed to operate it, Heavey said. He declined to say who owned the boat or whether Fedorko and the other teen who was in the water were wearing life jackets.

There were no adults in the boat, Heavey said. The four girls on the boat were 15 and 16 years old. 

In the state of Connecticut, the minimum age to operate a boat is 16, as long as the boater has passed a safe boating course. 

A second girl in the water suffered serious cuts to her leg and was treated at Stamford Hospital, where she remained in stable condition. 

Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei said the community was shaken by the teen's death.

"This is a profound loss for the Greenwich community. Certainly our hearts go out to the Fedorko family," Tesei said at the press conference held at police headquarters.

All four teens were rising juniors at Greenwich High School, Greenwich Public Schools Superintendent William McKersie told the press conference. 

The school system has counselors in place for anyone who may need assistance, McKersie said. 

"We are a compassionate community. This loss hits us all deeply and we want to be there for these families," he said. "Someone very active in a variety of ways. Loved by her peers, loved by her teachers and others."

He said the family was involved in the schools and that Fedorko was one of three siblings in the system.

The Greenwich school system is offering grief counseling from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Greenwich High School and Eastern Middle School. Residents may also call 211 or call the Center for Hope at 203-655-0547 for assistance.

McKersie noted that the four students involved in Wednesday's accident were also classmates of Bartlomiej "Bart" Palosz, 15, who committed suicide by shooting himself after the first day of class last August.

Lt. John Brown, of the police department's marine unit, said there have been three boating-related deaths in the last decade in Greenwich.

In one of those cases, the death occurred on the water but was caused by a medical condition, Brown said. In the other two cases involved a man in Cos Cob harbor who fell off his boat and another man who also fell in the water.

The accident is being investigated by the Greenwich Police Department Marine Section. The State Environmental Conservation Police (ENCON) will be conducting the accident reconstruction and a mechanic evaluation of the vessel. 

Read more about the police investigation here on the Daily Voice. 

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