Maine Maritime Academy holds vigil for students lost in Saturday crash

Published: Dec. 11, 2022 at 11:30 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 12, 2022 at 6:13 PM EST
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CASTINE, Maine (WABI) - Friends, family, fellow students and faculty at Maine Maritime Academy came together on a frigid night in Castine Sunday to say goodbye to Chase Fossett, Riley Ignacio-Cameron, Brian Kenealy, and Luke Simpson, the four MMA students who lost their lives early Saturday morning.

Academy President Jerry Paul spoke about each of the young men individually, and of the town and school they chose to be a part of.

“We are all in a state of shock. We are all mourning,” said Paul, in front of the hundreds gathered on the Leavitt Hall lawn. “I’ve been so touched by the way this community has come together over the last thirty six-plus hours. I can only continue to hope and pray that we are on a path of emotional recovery through every corner of this school.”

At a press conference before the vigil, Paul said the loss strikes at the heart of Maine Maritime Academy, which serves as the heart of Castine, and has sent shockwaves through this small community.

“They are integral to each other,” Paul said. “They are bound together like roots of two trees that are side by side. When something happens that harms one, it harms all. When something happens here that affects the quality of life, and the concept of life of one, it affects them all.”

Eli Moulton was a soccer teammate of Brian Kenealy’s, and was one of a number students spent time at the crash site Sunday afternoon, to grieve, remember, and reflect.

“His smile man,” said Moulton. “He lit up a room. Him and Chase and the others, they all just represented what it means to be a Mariner, you know? Just being… this community, man. It’s... being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself.”

Monday was supposed to be the start of finals week before the winter break, but Maine Maritime says adjustments in schedules will be made, as the students’ well being is their top priority.

Which means making sure everyone has time to say goodbye.

“We’ll mourn these young men and their memory,” Paul added. “We will never forget them, and this moment in the history of Maine Maritime Academy. They were lost way too soon, and before their watch was over.”

MMA Provost Keith Williamson told TV5 those students who are grieving will have finals rescheduled for next semester with some finals cancelled altogether.

The cause of Saturday’s crash is still under investigation.