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Paul Smith’s student death ruled accidental

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PAUL SMITHS — A 19-year-old student was found dead Tuesday afternoon on campus at Paul Smith’s College, state police said.

Nicolas G. Pendl, of Allegany, a forestry student, was found on the shoreline of Lower St. Regis Lake. When troopers responded to the scene at 2:25 p.m. that day, he was found face-down in the water a short distance behind the Clinton dorms.

Franklin County Coroner Ronald B. Keough authorized the removal of the body to Adirondack Medical Center, Saranac Lake, where an autopsy was performed by Dr. C. Francis Varga. Dr. Varga determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation due to fresh water drowning, which was precipitated by a seizure. Mr. Pendl had a known, pre-existing seizure disorder. Franklin County Coroner Ronald B. Keough ruled the manner of death to be accidental. Troopers said that “no life-saving measures were taken due to obvious signs of death.”

College President Dr. John W. Mills sent a message to students late Tuesday evening.

“I am deeply saddened to announce that one of your fellow students, Nicolas Pendl, died on campus Tuesday,” he told students, who arrived on campus preparing for Welcome Week.

“Tragedies such as these are always hard to bear,” he said.

“And the loss of our most precious resource, a young person with potential, is a devastating experience. I know that you, our valued student body, will do your best to insure that our community stays strong during this trying time.”

Information about counseling services was sent to all students. “I hope also to arrange a meeting for the entire campus to reflect on Nicolas’s passing. Please feel free to reach out to me or any member of the faculty and staff, if you wish,” Mr. Mills said.

Mr. Pendl was a member of the Paul Smith’s College snowshoe racing and marathon canoe racing teams.

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