Police Identify Greenwich Teen Killed In Boating Accident

GREENWICH — The community remained in shock Thursday as more details emerged about the 16-year-old athlete and honor student who died in a boating accident a day earlier.

Emily Fedorko, described by schools Superintendent William S. McKersie as a "healthy, active, vibrant member of our community," was identified as the girl killed while tubing on Long Island Sound on Wednesday.

The Greenwich High School yearbook lists Fedorko as a member of the gymnastic team.

Fedorko was fatally injured and another teenage girl was severely wounded when they were hit by the propeller of the boat that had been towing them on a tube Wednesday afternoon, according to authorities. The injured girl, who is in a hospital with a serious leg injury, has not been identified.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Fedorko's death an accident due to "propeller injuries to the trunk and lower extremities."

Two teenage girls were in the boat at the time. Police said it was a "tragic accident" and that alcohol does not appear to be a factor. The operator of the boat had a boating safety certificate issued by the state, according to police.

Police said the four teens were in the boat without an adult. It is legal under Connecticut's boating laws for a licensed minor to operate a boat without adult supervision, police said.

"That's a parenting issue," Capt. Raul Camejo of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said. "It's not a matter for us to decide."

McKersie said Fedorko, a rising junior, and the other girls were "deep, longtime friends."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time of tragedy," he said.

The four girls, all 15 or 16 years old, were in a 21-foot Wahoo powerboat with a 200-horsepower outboard engine off Greenwich Point Park after 2 p.m., police said. They were 1 to 2 miles from shore in Captains Harbor, police said.

Fedorko and a second girl had been riding a tube towed by the boat but were "dislodged" from the tube into the water, and after the boat operator turned around to pick them up the boat hit the girls in the water, police said.

The two girls in the boat pulled the other girls out of the water and took them to shore at the Old Greenwich Yacht Club on Greenwich Point to get help, Macmillan said.

Police said the injured girl was taken to Stamford Hospital "for a soft tissue injury to her leg which required extensive stitching."

Fedorko suffered a fatal injury to her torso area, dying at the scene, police said.

The names of the other girls involved have not been released.

There is no speed limit on Long Island Sound, although police said it was too early to determine if speed was a factor in the accident. "It's an open investigation, so there's a lot of facts that we're still working on," police Lt. Kraig Gray said.

The accident is being investigated by the Greenwich Police Department Marine Section. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Conservation Police will do an accident reconstruction and a mechanical evaluation of the boat, police said.

Greenwich High School and Eastern Middle School provided counseling on Thursday and planned to provide it again on Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the district announced Thursday. The services were to be available to students, staff and the community.

"This is a devastating loss for the whole Greenwich community," McKersie said. "We are a compassionate community. This loss hits us deeply, and we want to be there for those families."

Ramano Orlando, a 14-year old entering his freshmen year at Greenwich High who was riding his bike outside the school on Thursday, said his older sister Sophia was "good friends" with the girls involved in the accident and was at the hospital with the injured girl.

Orlando said he did not know Fedorko very well. "My sister said she was just too nice a girl to die," Orlando said.

Fedorko was a member of the high school's gymnastics team, according to her high school yearbook, and a Greenwich Time article lists her as having made high honors for the past school year. McKersie said Fedorko was a popular student and had two siblings who were also in Greenwich schools.

First Selectman Peter Tesei asked community members to focus their energy on supporting Fedorko's family and the families of the other girls involved.

"Clearly it has shocked them as it has shocked all of us," he said. "This is a profound loss for the Greenwich community."

Greenwich police said they investigated nine boating accidents within their waters in the past year, 14 the year before, and nine the year before that. None was fatal.

"Most of the time [the accidents] are usually because of operator error," Lt. John Brown said.

Orlando, who said he goes boating twice a week with his friends, said the accident will cause him to pay closer attention to boating safety rules and the dangers of water recreation.

"It's just crazy to think that it could happen to anyone," he said.

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