Midshipman dies after skateboarding accident

Death is third at Naval Academy in two months

  • Midshipman Third Class (sophomore) Hans Loewen, 20, of Hampstead, N.C., died Saturday.
Midshipman Third Class (sophomore) Hans Loewen, 20, of Hampstead,… (U.S. Naval Academy )
March 29, 2014|By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun

A U.S. Naval Academy midshipman died Saturday after slipping into a coma following a skateboarding injury, the third midshipman to expire due to injury in two months.

Hans Loewen, 20, of Hampstead, N.C., was camping at Assateague State Park with other midshipmen when he was injured, Naval Academy officials said. He was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, but he did not wake from his coma.

"My wife, Barbara, and I join the Brigade, staff and faculty in mourning the loss of Midshipman Hans Loewen," Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael Miller said in a statement. "Hans was a vibrant Midshipman who lived his life to the fullest, and that spirit will be forever imprinted on his classmates and the Naval Academy."

Loewen, a Midshipman Third Class, was an oceanography major in the 7th Company and was active with the Naval Academy's Adventure Racing Team, the American Nuclear Society and the Rock Climbing Club, officials said.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

The midshipman's family wrote on a memorial website that Loewen was injured when he was skateboarding next to a slowly moving vehicle and fell beneath its rear wheel, though he was wearing a helmet at the time.

"Hans has forever been, with our support, our encouragement, and our vicarious participation, a calculating risk taker," the family wrote. "He is a kitesurfer, a rock climber, an extreme downhill longboarder, a surfer, a paddleboarder, a unicyclist, a slackliner, a snowboarder, a mountain climber, a mountain biker, a triathlete, a drummer, a reader, a comedian, and our loving and perfect son."

Officials said the loss is extremely difficult for the academy because Loewen has a sister, Zatha, who is a senior at the academy.

Officials said grief counseling services and support are available to midshipmen, faculty and staff through their chains of command, chaplains, and the Midshipmen Development Center.

Loewen's death comes less than a week after Navy football player Will McKamey, 19, died of brain swelling and bleeding after suddenly collapsing on a practice field. Academy officials and McKamey's family have said there is no indication that the freshman suffered a football injury that would have led to his death.

McKamey's funeral is planned for Monday in Tennessee.

In February, Max Allen, a senior, was found dead in his SUV after crashing into a creek on the Academy grounds. That incident remains under investigation.

Baltimore Sun reporter Meredith Cohn contributed to this article.



Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.