Updated, Sept. 22, 11:08 a.m.
The body of Jonathan Tang, Physicians and Surgeons '16, was found dead Sunday morning in a pond in upstate New York after he fell into the water Saturday. Tang was 24.
The Saratoga County Sheriff's Office said in a press release that Tang was kayaking in Stewart's Pond in Hadley, NY, by himself on Saturday afternoon when he fell into the water. Witnesses saw Tang struggling, but no one was able to reach him before he went underwater.
Emergency crews from Hadley, Corinth, and South Glens initially responded, followed by fire department divers and state troopers, but the search on Saturday ended unsuccessfully. Investigators resumed searching on Sunday morning, after which they found and identified the body.
Thomas Salvadore, a coroner for the county, declared Tang dead shortly after rescuers retrieved his body. The sheriff's office said that Tang was not wearing a life jacket. Alcohol and drugs were not a factor, the press release said.
Tang had rented a house in Hadley for the weekend with a number of other CUMC students, the sheriff's office said. The other students had attempted to rescue Tang, but he had disappeared by the time they reached his location.
"We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to the Tang family for their terrible loss and ask that you keep them in your thoughts in the days ahead," Lisa A. Mellman, senior associate dean for student affairs at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, said in an email sent to faculty and students.
"Jonathan was known to many students as a wholeheartedly generous friend who exuded positive energy in everything he did," Mellman said. "Over the years, he grew close to many students and faculty and always had a way of bringing people together with his uplifting and cheerful personality."
While at Columbia, Tang was president of the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association, through which he worked in high schools and local communities to raise awareness about Hepatitis B vaccination and screening, Mellman's email said.
"Jonathan impressed me from the moment I met him with his enthusiasm and insight, emailing me out of the blue and somehow citing my own, unpublished research findings, during our first meeting," Hoang said in an email. "He was always light-hearted and approachable to the rest of the lab, but his work showed true innovation and a creative mind set."
Tang, graduated from Stuyvesant High School, before attending NYU, where he majored in chemistry and mathematics and was a member of the varsity fencing team. He started his M.D. program at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2012, and lived in Brooklyn.
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