A Clemson student death was reported after a 20-year-old victim fell off the Carnival Cruise ship Ecstasy on Monday.
The Clemson student death was a shock by the head of a group that just awarded to Kendall Wernet for being a high achiever in the Students Painters organization.
The cruise line said the as the ship was pulling into port Monday morning, Wernet went into a restricted area and climbed the ship’s forward mast. He fell and landed on the deck, according to a release from the cruise line. The Clemson student death is still being investigated, but police find no foul play in the incident.
Miami-Dade police said Wernet fell the approximate height of two decks, which would be more than 20 feet. He was immediately treated by the ship’s medical team, and transferred to Ryder Trauma Center, where he later died, police said.
Steve Acorn, who is the owner of Student Painters, was on the cruise with Wernet and 130 of the organization’s other top achievers. Acorn said the organization has been taking top achievers on award cruises for 17 years.
Angie Culpepper was mentored by Wernet and among the Student Painters on the cruise. Culpepper told WYFF:
“Kendell Wernet definitely played a huge part in our life and always will … He will be somebody to always be remembered. His ideas and his encouragement will always be definitely a legacy in our lives.”
Acorn said he has known and worked with Wernet for three years. He says emphatically that Wernet was not drinking at the time of the fall. He said Wernet and others in the group had seen people sitting on the platform that is up on the mast the night before, and they decided to go up on the platform to watch the sunrise over Miami. He said:
“A group of five, Kendall being one of them, climbed to the top of the front mass to watch the sunrise, and talk about how happy they were in their life, and started planning their next journey’s, and where the next five years would take them. They had been up there for approximately 45 minutes, just talking about life. There had be no drinking or any drugs involved, during that time, or prior.”
Acorn said before the Clemson student death incident, the other four had laid down. He said Wernet was the only student still standing or sitting up when the radar dish above the platform was turned on and began to rotate, knocking Wernet to the deck below. He suffered a severe head injury when he fell onto the running track on the deck.