College student dies after choking at pancake-eating contest - WFSB 3 Connecticut

College student dies after choking at pancake-eating contest

Posted: Updated:
Caitlin Nelson died at a New York City hospital on Sunday. (Facebook/Sacred Heart photo) Caitlin Nelson died at a New York City hospital on Sunday. (Facebook/Sacred Heart photo)
A vigil took place at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield on Sunday, three days after Caitlin Nelson died. (Sacred Heart University Facebook page) A vigil took place at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield on Sunday, three days after Caitlin Nelson died. (Sacred Heart University Facebook page)
FAIRFIELD, CT (WFSB/AP) -

A 20-year-old Connecticut college student whose father was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks has died after choking during a pancake-eating contest.

Police say Caitlin Nelson died at a New York City hospital on Sunday, three days after participating in the contest at Sacred Heart University. She was from Clark, New Jersey, and was majoring in social work at the Catholic school in Fairfield.

Officials say the contest was part of a fraternities and sororities event.

Fairfield police say nursing students and first responders performed lifesaving measures, after seeing she was choking during the contest.

Nelson was taken to a hospital in critical condition and was then moved to a New York hospital on Friday. She passed away on Sunday.

The student was a junior from New Jersey, majoring in social work.

"You don't expect that, at something like that, that's probably the last thing you'd expect. Really sad to hear about it," said sophomore Kevin Carlson.

Students remembered Nelson during a candlelight vigil on campus Sunday.

The university provided a statement on Monday.

The SHU community is mourning today the passing of 20-year-old junior Caitlin Nelson. Caitlin was rushed to the hospital Thursday evening after a medical event during a Greek Life activity and passed away on Sunday. 

Last night's 7 p.m. Mass at SHU's Chapel of the Holy Spirit was dedicated to Caitlin and was attended by thousands of students, faculty and staff-many of whom stood outside the Chapel during the service. The service was followed by an impromptu candlelight vigil as community members consoled one another and offered prayers for Caitlin and her family and friends. The Chapel remained open throughout the evening with staff on hand from Campus Ministry if needed. 

The SHU flag has been lowered to half-staff in Caitlin's memory.

Counseling services have already been provided, in particular for Caitlin's sorority sisters and will continue to be available for all members of the SHU community who may need them over the next few days. 
We ask that during this time you give Caitlin's family and the members of the SHU community privacy while they grieve.

Her father, James, was a Port Authority police officer who died on 9/11.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.