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Body of second missing university student found in Puerto Rico

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

ARECIBO, Puerto Rico -- Search teams on Tuesday found the body of an American university student who vanished with his friend in a Puerto Rican jungle days ago.

Divers found the body of 21-year-old Colin Mike Ewers trapped by a boulder near the 30-foot waterfall on the flast-flowing Tanama River where his friend's body was found a day earlier, said Delyris Aquino with Puerto Rico's Emergency Management Agency.

Police said it appeared Ewers, of Bloomington, Minn., and Kristopher Reilly, 24, of Miami had drowned but the exact cause of death had not been determined.

The two students were taking part in an astronomy program to gather data from the world's premier radio telescope at Arecibo, 45 miles west of San Juan.

The pair, along with another student, Carroll Weiner, set out on the 1 1/2-hour hike Saturday from the observatory to the jungle area, which is surrounded by dense foliage, cliffs and deep canyons. Weiner managed to find her way back and sought help.

The men's backpacks and clothing were found on a riverbank Sunday, officials said.

Reilly's body was found Monday morning stuck in a rock cavern in about 15 feet of water and at the base of the waterfall on the river, which snakes 12 miles over mountains and into the sea.

On Tuesday, divers redirected parts of the raging river so they could search for Ewers without being carried away by the current.

Jagged rocks and whirlpools surround the waterfall's base. Another man drowned in the same spot six years ago, said resident Gustavo Marquez, 29.

The men's parents, who had flown to the U.S. territory on Monday, were not immediately available for comment, nor was Weiner.

Reilly studied at the New College of Florida in Sarasota. Ewers studied at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn.

Known as "Kit" on the small Florida campus of 650 students, Reilly changed majors from political science to physics last year, college spokesman Steve Schroer said Monday.

He was with a two-month program funded by the National Science Foundation and administered by Cornell University. The program maps debris fields caused by supernova explosions, Schroer said.

Pictures on Reilly's student Web page show him as an adventurer who loved the outdoors -- especially the water. One photo shows him sailing with friends and another shows him on a tubing trip in Oregon.

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On the Net:

Reilly's Web site: http://studentweb.ncf.edu/kit.reilly/ind...


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