While participating in a UCSB Wildlands Studies excursion in Thailand, University of Michigan student Lynn Bensinger was killed after leaning his body out of a moving train.

Bensinger, 25, died during UCSB’s three-month Thailand Ecosystems and Cultures project as he was traveling between Bangkok and Phuket Island via train on Feb. 8.

During the trip, Bensinger stuck his head out of the train and was struck by a pole. The impact threw him to the ground; however, his disappearance went unnoticed by the group for the rest of the day.

The next morning, group leader Chris Carpenter became concerned when Bensinger was not present at breakfast and notified train staff.

His body was discovered later beside the train tracks. Students in the group held a memorial for Bensinger, lighting a fire on a Thai beach into which they tossed messages to him.

Bensinger was participating in the Thailand Ecosystems and Cultures project to earn credit toward graduation. According to the UCSB Wildlands Studies website, the project offers students an opportunity to learn about the ecology of tropical Asia by visiting such environments as monsoon forests and coral reefs.