Scholar Found Dead in River

Visiting Professor Was 40

The body of a Chinese scholar visiting at the Harvard Institute for International Development was retrieved from the Charles River Thursday by the Cambridge Fire Department.

The victim, Gao Xiaomeng, was pronounced dead at 9:50 a.m. at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, said Kate Robbins, a hospital spokesperson.

Xiaomeng, 40, is survived by a wife and child in Beijing.

Fire department officers were alerted by a passing jogger, the Boston Herald reported. The jogger spotted the victim's brightly colored jacket through an ice hole near the Massachusetts Avenue bridge.

Despite a dramatic rescue attempt on the ice, the fire fighters were unable to save the victim, whose body temperature was below 70 degrees when he reached the hospital.


Cambridge medical examiner Dr. Leonard Apkins said yesterday "the cause of death is pending investigation."

University spokesperson Peter Costa said that foul play is not suspected, but state and local police will investigate the incident with Harvard police cooperation.

"They don't know what the cause of death is," he said, but there is no reason to suspect suicide.

Xiaomeng, an expert on Chinese agricultural development, was winding up his second year as a visiting re- searcher at the Harvard Institute for International Development.

He was a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Costa said that the Institute was seeking Ford Foundation funding for Xiaomeng to continue his research in America