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American student dies after Dominica boating accident

An American college student was killed during a visit to the Caribbean island of Dominica when she was struck by a dive boat's propeller, police said Sunday.

The fourth-year University of Virginia student has been identified as 22-year-old Casey Schulman of Falls Church, Virginia.

Police Inspector Richmond Valentine said she was killed Saturday afternoon as she and more than 50 other students visited Dominica as part of the school's "Semester at Sea" program.

In a statement released to students and faculty, Patricia Lampkin, University of Virginia vice president and chief student affairs officer, said Schulman's death occurred during a recreational boating trip organized independently of Semester at Sea activities.

Valentine said a group of students, including Schulman, hired a boat owned by local company Anchorage Dive. After a snorkeling excursion, the boat went to the west coast community of Mero where some students frolicked in the water and others relaxed on the beach.

Schulman was swimming when she was struck by the boat's propeller as the captain was apparently driving in reverse after picking up food, Valentine said.

She was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

A commemorative service was planned aboard the Semester at Sea vessel on Sunday night, according to Lampkin's statement. The boat is scheduled to return to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday.

Lampkin said she has been in touch with Schulman's family. She said grief counseling and support services are being made available to members of the university community.

Dominica is a lush, tropical island of some 71,000 people that brands itself as the Caribbean's "Nature Island."

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