Sole Child Survivor of '85 Philly Bombing Dies in Hot Tub

Michael Ward found on cruise ship, apparently drowned
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 26, 2013 11:28 AM CDT
Sole Child Survivor of '85 Philly Bombing Dies in Hot Tub
In this May 9, 1996 file photo, Michael Moses Ward speaks to reporters outside the federal courthouse in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/ H. Rumph Jr.)

Michael Moses Ward, one of two survivors of the 1985 bombing of the militant group MOVE in a Philadelphia neighborhood and the only child to make it out alive, has died at 41. Ward died aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean, say Florida medical examiners. His body was found in a hot tub last week, apparently drowned, an investigator says. Ward was 13 and known as Birdie Africa when Philadelphia police, trying to dislodge MOVE from its fortified inner-city compound, dropped explosives on the roof.

The bombing killed five children and six adult members of the group, including Ward's mother, and ignited a fire that destroyed 61 row homes. After escaping, the teenager went to live with his father, Andino Ward, who changed his son's name. Michael, who later served in the Army, had been "doing well" lately, Andino Ward tells the AP. Michael and his siblings had treated their father to the cruise. Andino called the death "very, very strange. He worked out every day and was very particular about what he put in his body." Officials are awaiting the results of a toxicology test before determining the cause and manner of death. (More Philadelphia stories.)

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