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Large wave kills diver near Pompano Beach

| Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, 7:56 p.m.

MIAMI — A diver from New Mexico who died in a Thanksgiving Day boating accident was a manager at one of the nation's leading research laboratories, authorities said Friday.

The Broward County Medical Examiner ruled on Friday that Nina Poppelsdorf, 54, drowned on Thursday when a large wave flipped over a 45-foot catamaran carrying her and nearly two-dozen others.

Poppelsdorf died in the hospital, said Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Dani Moschella. Witnesses said the Coral Princess was approaching the Hillsboro Inlet in Pompano Beach when a wave 8 to 10 feet high flipped the twin-hulled craft.

Poppelsdorf was in Florida with her nephew, who is from Pennsylvania.

“They just went on this fun trip together to just do dives,” Moschella said. “So this is especially tragic that it was on Thanksgiving and it ended in tragedy.”

Poppelsdorf was a senior manager of the radiation protection, industrial hygiene and safety center at Sandia National Laboratories, lab spokeswoman Heather Clark said.

Darrell Fong, who worked with Poppelsdorf, said “She had a great laugh. Everyone could recognize her laughter.”

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