Retired Astronaut Dies In Pensacola Beach Jet Ski Accident
July 2, 2012
Captain Alan Poindexter, 50, was jet skiing with his two sons near Little Sabine Bay about 1:30 Sunday afternoon.
Poindexter and one of his sons, age 21, were sitting still in the water on a jet ski when his other son accidentally came barreling into him on a second jet ski, according to reports. He was airlifted by LifeFlight to Baptist Hospital where he died from his injuries.
Poindexter’s wife is formerly of Gulf Breeze. He was a graduate of then Pensacola Junior College and Georgia Tech. He flew numerous space shuttle missions, spending nearly 28 total days in space before he retired from NASA in 2010.
In 2008, he was the pilot on the STS-122 space shuttle mission to deliver and install the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station. In 2010, he was the commander for STS-131, a resupply mission to the station that delivered more than 13,000 pounds of hardware and equipment.
“The NASA family was sad to learn of the passing of our former friend, and colleague Alan Poindexter who was killed today during a jet ski accident in Florida,” a NASA Facebook posting stated. “Our thought and hearts are with his family.”
During his career, Poindexter was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, NASA Aviation Safety Award, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat V, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, various other service awards.
“He was a talented, courageous Navy veteran with gifts,” astronaut Greg H. Johnson wrote on Twitter. “Dex was a lovable guy with a strong work ethic.”
Pictured top: Astronaut Alan Poindexter works on the aft flight deck of space shuttle Atlantis during his first spaceflight in 2008.