27 October 2005

Woman dies during Carribean scuba diving trip

An Indiana woman died on a scuba diving trip off the coast of Belize in Central America.

Abigail Brinkman, 28, a former 500 Festival princess from Columbus, was one of four people stranded for two days floating in the Caribbean. The others, including another Hoosier, survived the ordeal.

The group of divers had been on a 20-foot boat off the coast of Belize on Saturday afternoon when the engine failed, Belize police said. Brinkman and another female and two male divers tried to swim the four miles to shore in choppy seas, while the boat's operator stayed aboard.

A fishing vessel found the three survivors and Brinkman's body Monday. The survivors were hospitalized in Belize City.

A friend of Brinkman's said she was a medical student at Indiana University in Indianapolis. She was in Belize as part of a tropical medicine internship, the family spokesman said.

Indianapolis native John Bain, now of Racine, Wis., was one of the survivors. Mary Garrett, Indianapolis, Bain's mother, said she spoke to her son Tuesday. Bain, 50, a lawyer, suffered hypothermia and a jellyfish sting, she said.

The other survivors were identified as American Nancy Masters, 38, and Yutaka Maeda, 34, Japan.

Source: www.indystar.com


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