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Cruisegoer Plunges to Death While Watching Sunrise

Kendall Wernet was in a restricted area at the time
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2014 2:40 PM CDT
Cruisegoer Plunges to Death While Watching Sunrise
Clemson students embrace at a vigil for Kendall Wernet on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014.   (AP Photo/The Independent-Mail, Sefton Ipock)

(Newser) – Kendall Wernet was watching the Miami sunrise from a Carnival cruise ship with his friends Monday when the idyllic moment took a tragic turn. The group of five people climbed the mast of the Ecstasy as it came into port, then sat on a restricted platform talking—but 45 minutes in, the radar dish above the platform started rotating, hitting Wernet, and he fell two stories to the runner's track below and suffered a head injury, WYFF-4 reports. He was treated by the medical team onboard but died later that day. The 20-year-old Clemson University student was on the trip as a reward for his performance in a painting organization, and the owner of the organization, who was on the cruise, stresses that no drugs or alcohol were involved.

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"They had witnessed four to six individuals do the same thing the previous night," he says. "It was not their original idea, and they thought they would do the same for the last night on the ship. These five individuals were just talking and experiencing the night," he said, talking "about how happy they were in their life and ... planning their next journeys, and where the next five years would take them." A Carnival spokesperson tells the Miami Herald there are signs warning passengers not to enter the area where the group was sitting. (Read more accidental death stories.)

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