Coroner: Birdie Africa drowned because of intoxication

Michael Moses Ward, once Birdie Africa.
Michael Moses Ward, once Birdie Africa.
Posted: June 13, 2014

An autopsy on Michael Moses Ward, whose body was found in a Caribbean cruise ship hot tub last September, indicated that the man once known as Birdie Africa drowned because of acute alcohol intoxication, officials in Florida said Wednesday.

The Brevard County Medical Examiner's Office said Ward, 41, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.156 percent, nearly twice the definition for drunken driving. He was found unconscious and his death was ruled an accidental drowning.

Ward, who had been living in the Pennsylvania suburbs, was vacationing with family members.

Ward became well-known in 1985, when the then-13-year-old was one of two people to survive the MOVE siege in West Philadelphia. The standoff ended when police dropped a bomb on a rowhouse fortified by the group.

The explosion and fire destroyed 61 houses and killed 11 people in the house, including his mother. Ramona Africa was the other survivor.

After the bombing, Ward lived with his father. He later served in the Army, married, and divorced. He had two children and had worked as a long-distance trucker.


vclark@phillynews.com

215-854-5717

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