Peter "PJ" McGonigle Wenner, 19, A member of the University of Hawaii coed sailing team died this morning from injuries he sustained in a boating accident Saturday, UH officials announced he was sailing with several team members on a private high performance skiff off of Waikiki Saturday afternoon when the accident occurred, according to a UH news release. He was admitted to Straub Hospital in critical condition Saturday evening.
PJ was on a Phillipe Kahn sponsored Pegasus boat and according to one source, Shark was driving at the time, and they T-bagged and turned turtle in a lull. Peter "PJ" Wenner and Ryan Karnes were crew. Ryan is a past lifeguard, and strong swimmer. PJ was wearing a currently legal harness with no "Quick Release" buckle. In 2006 ISAF tried to make Quick-Release buckles mandatory, but was repealed. Ryan dove many times to untie half hitches to free PJ.
PJ was rushed to the hospital, and kept on a ventilator until the family could arrive and say good bye. “My heartfelt condolences go out to P.J.’s family and friends,” Jim Donovan, UH Athletics Director said. “P.J. was a loved member of the UH Athletics Department ohana. He touched so many lives at such a young age and we will miss him dearly.”
A memorial service is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. tomorrow at the Newman Center at UH-Manoa. The service is open to the public. A family service will be held in Los Angeles, next Tuesday.
Wenner, a sophomore, was a 2007 graduate of Loyola High School in Los Angeles. In September, he competed for the UH coed team at the Pacific Coast Conference Sailing Men’s Singlehanded Championships in San Diego, and took sixth place, according to UH officials.
“Peter represented everything good about being an athlete, sailor, and student here at the University of Hawaii,” said Andy Johnson, UH sailing head coach. “He was the heart and soul of our team and we will all miss him immensely.” Peter’s brother, Matthew Wenner, is a freshman on the coed team.