Two American college students were killed in Copenhagen Harbor over the weekend when a ‘reckless’ jet skier crashed into their boat.
Linsey Malia, a 21-year-old junior at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, and Leah Bell, a Louisiana native and junior at Pomona College in Claremont, California, died following the crash. The two students were in Copenhagen as a part of a DIS – Study Abroad in Scandinavia course. They were believed to be celebrating the end of their spring semester when the crash occurred. Five other unidentified students who were on the boat were hospitalized, but have since been released, with none sustaining major injuries.
Via The Copenhagen Post:
In total, six other people were injured in the collision near Langebro Bridge, which links HC Andersens Boulevard (between Tivoli and Rådhuspladsen) to Amager Boulevard.
The two women’s boat was rammed by one or more jetskis, and it is reported that several jetski riders fled the scene.
Jetskiing is illegal in the harbour, as well as water skiing and windsurfing, and the police have already arrested nine people who they suspect were involved in the accident, reports DR.
According to The Daily Mail, the women’s study abroad program said that Bell and Malia were on a personal boating excursion in the harbor with five other students when a ‘high-speed jet ski’ hit their boat.
‘Tragically, two DIS students were killed as a result of the accident,’ DIS said in a statement. ‘This incident is incredibly difficult. DIS is a strong community and the ties to these students involved in the accident are broad and deep. DIS is focused on individual support and counselors are available to all students.’
Jens Jespersen, a spokesman for the Copenhagen Police, declined to give further details about the fatal collision. According to reports, jet skis and other personal watercraft are not permitted in the Copenhagen Harbor without prior permission.
Stonehill College, the university that Malia attended, released a statement:
“The Stonehill community is deeply saddened by the loss of Linsey Malia ’18. As a peer mentor, a teaching assistant, a member of the Moreau Honors Program, a work study student within Athletics, and a volunteer with multiple campus partners. Linsey was a model student and member of the College community. We ask that the media give her family and friends space as they take time to process this tragedy and grieve.”
Furthermore, the Christ Episcopal Church in Louisiana identified Bell as the other victim in the crash in a Facebook post:
‘It is with overwhelming sadness that we write to inform you that the oldest daughter of Jeff and Liz Bell, Leah Bell, was killed in a tragic boating accident in Copenhagen yesterday during her study abroad,’ the church said in a Facebook post. ‘Jeff and Liz are on their way to Copenhagen and their daughter Rebecca is here with friends. Every loss is painful – and if we are human, we have or will experience such loss. But the loss of a child is particularly devastating. We ask that you please hold the Bell family in your prayers and close to your heart during this difficult time.’