Capt. Laura Matejik Eberts, 28, a Bucks County native who had just returned from deployment with the Army in Afghanistan, died Monday, March 21, in a rafting accident while on her honeymoon at the Iguazu Falls in Argentina.
Capt. Eberts, a judge advocate, was in an inflatable boat that capsized after striking rocks at foot of the falls, a popular tourist attraction at the border with Brazil. The Associated Press reported that she was one of two Americans who died. The other was identified as Philip Musgrove, 70. The vessel's driver and five other passengers were thrown into the water and injured.
Helicopters and police boats assisted in the rescue. The accident was under investigation by Argentine authorities, according to Jorge Veron, an official in Misiones province.
At the time of her death, Capt. Eberts had just returned from a 12-month hitch in Afghanistan with the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-435. She helped establish the detention operations center at Bagram Airfield.
She graduated from New Hope-Solebury High School in 2000, and four years later received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester (Mass.) Polytechnic Institute. While there, she was an Army ROTC cadet, a member of the field hockey and rugby teams, and part of Alpha Gamma Delta, an international women's fraternity.
In 2007, Capt. Eberts received a law degree from George Washington University. She played rugby and ran in marathons.
Capt. Eberts graduated from the 175th judge advocate officer basic course in 2008 and was assigned to Redstone Arsenal, Ala., where she served as chief, legal assistance, and later as chief, military justice. She had been preparing to join her husband, Robert, at Fort Benning, Ga., this summer.
In addition to being athletic, Capt. Eberts was a pianist and singer.
"She was able to accomplish and succeed at so many great things in such a short time, and made such a remarkable impact on the world," her family said in a statement.
Her loved ones described Capt. Eberts as "an amazing friend, sister, teammate, daughter, soldier, and wife. She was such a beautiful person, and everything she did, she did with a passion."
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her parents, Joseph and Karen Matejik; a grandfather, retired Col. Paul E. Hand; and sisters Air Force Capt. Christina Matejik and Army Second Lt. Jessica Wilkinson Thomas.
A visitation will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 31, followed by an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church, 1 Riverstone Circle, New Hope.
Memorial donations may be made to Army Emergency Relief, 200 Stovall St., Room 5-N-13, Alexandria, Va. 22332-0600, or at www.aerhq.org