Mohammed Ramzan, a Northwestern University student, died on Monday, April 10, after going overboard during a morning rowing practice for the university’s crew team.
Ramzan fell into the canal around 7.35 A.M. The 19-year-old freshman from Auburn, Washington was one of eight rowers on a nine-man team.
The search for Ramzan’s body began shortly after he fell overboard. The coach, who was trailing behind the team in a motorized boat, was one of two people who jumped in to try and save Ramzan, however, they could not find Ramzan amidst the murky waters.
“It’s a recovery operation at this point,” said Skokie Fire Chief Jim Walters. “We pulled the divers about 9:30, 10:00 o’clock, went into recovery mode at that time and put the boats in the water with sonar and that gives us the best possibility of making a find.”
Numerous dive and rescue teams from several fire departments spent the rest of the daylight hours searching up and down the canal. But because the crew team members were unable to pinpoint their location when Ramzan fell in, it made the initial search challenging and the water conditions complicated the recovery operation.
“I mean it’s murky, it’s murky all the way through, I was told the visibility is about three feet, we encountering the brush on the side of the canal that makes it difficult,” Walters said.
Northwestern sent an email to students around 10:00 P.M. on Monday saying that Ramzan had been pulled from the canal in Lincolnwood.
Furthermore, Vice President of student affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin released a statement:
I am deeply saddened to report tonight that authorities have recovered the body of Mohammed Ramzan from the North Shore Channel in Lincolnwood.
Mohammed, 19, was missing after he fell overboard while practicing with Northwestern University’s club crew team this morning on the North Shore Channel. We have been keeping his family apprised of the situation as Illinois State Police and suburban police and fire and rescue units searched all day for him.
We extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Mohammed’s family and friends for this tragic loss, which affects us all, and we urge all members of our community to reach out and support one another.
We are grateful to Northwestern University Police, Illinois State Police and all the law enforcement agencies and fire departments involved in the search. We extend our thoughts and support to everyone who knew Mohammed during his time here.
Crew has been a club sport at Northwestern since the 1980s, and with over 40 memebers, is the largest club sport at Northwestern University.