Officials believe the midshipman, whose identity was not released, crashed into the creek near Nimitz Library on the academy grounds possibly as early as Friday night or early Saturday morning, officials said.
The incident was not discovered until Sunday, when a passer-by noticed a missing part of the post-and-chain fence along the water and reported it to authorities, said Cmdr. John Schofield, an academy spokesman. Officials realized a vehicle was in the water about 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
The midshipman's body was recovered from the water by Anne Arundel County Fire Department divers about 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Schofield said.
He was not reported missing over the weekend. Many midshipmen were on leave because of the combination of a holiday weekend and completion of exams, Schofield said.
The midshipman's family was notified Monday morning, but academy officials said they would not release his identity publicly until Tuesday.
Schofield said it's too soon to tell exactly what happened, but "the early indication right now … is this is a single-vehicle motor accident." He declined to speculate whether weather or road conditions might have been a factor.
The incident is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Investigators are examining the SUV, which belonged to the midshipman.
Officials said counseling is being offered to students and staff through the academy's chaplains and the Midshipmen Development Center.
"The Naval Academy is obviously heartbroken," Schofield said.