Iowa State crew club shared safety concerns more than a year before fatal accident

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 11:50 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa State University Crew Club brought safety concerns to the University a little more than a year before the recent accident that killed two students from the club.

On Sunday, Yaakov Ben-David and Derek Nanni died after their boat capsized on Little Wall Lake, about 20 miles north of Ames. Bystanders rescued three other students.

A report in the Ames Tribune said the club sent a letter to ISU’s Recreation Services Department in February 2020 that said, “as our club stands, it wouldn’t take much for someone to get seriously hurt.”

The letter outlined three actions - build a dock, repair or buy a new coach boat, and implement mandatory swim tests for team members.

Since that letter, swim tests are in place and if students fail, life jackets are required, and the club is fundraising for a dock.

But to the university’s knowledge, no boat has been acquired.

The letter said one reason for the boat was to, “have a safety net if a boat would capsize or other emergency would happen on the water.”

It’s not clear if any students were wearing life jackets on Sunday.

U.S. Rowing is conducting a safety review of the accident.

The U.S. Olympic Committee recognizes U.S. Rowing as the national governing body of rowing.

Iowa State said the review will cover the incident and the general safety policies and practices of the school’s rowing club.

The team will not practice or compete until U.S. Rowing completes its review.

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