Body of Clarkson University student believed to have been killed by train pulled from Raquette River
Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 7:40 pm

This was the scene at 2:28 a.m. Sunday as Potsdam village police, the Potsdam Volunteer Rescue Squad, Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department, and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Depatment were on scene after a train struck a Clarkson University student. The accident occured on the railroad trestle over the Raquette River adjacent to Sandstone Drive. The train in the background had stopped. Photo submitted by Patrick Wilbur.

 POTSDAM – The body of a Clarkson University student killed by a train was recovered from the Raquette River Sunday following a search by helicopter, watercraft and divers.

The body of Shanith A. Samarasekera, 20, Las Vegas, Nev., who was believed struck by a train on the railroad trestle adjacent to Sandstone Drive, also known as the bypass, was pulled from the river in about 12 feet of water at 11:24 a.m., according to village police. His identity had been withheld until family members could be notified.

Village police responded at 1:39 a.m., along with the Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department, the Potsdam Rescue Squad and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department. State police assisted with a helicopter during the search.

Police said alerts were generated by SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson University after a witness to the accident stated the victim appeared to be a college-aged male. The police department received notification of a missing person although at the time it was not known if the victim and the missing person were one and the same.

Area fire and rescue services conducted the search in the river.

Coroner June Wood was contacted and his body was taken to Canton-Potsdam Hospital, police said.

The investigation is continuing and an autopsy was scheduled for last night, police said.