ORLANDO, Fla. – USRowing on Tuesday released a statement, sharing its “deepest sympathies” to everyone involved in last week’s tragic lightning strike near Lake Fairview that left one student dead and another on life support.
The lightning strike happened Thursday afternoon as five students from various area schools were on Lake Fairview near North Orange Blossom Trail and Lee Road while practicing with the North Orlando Rowing Club.
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“There was a lightning strike in the area. We are unsure whether it actually hit the vessel or actually was just in the area,” Orlando Fire Department Executive Deputy Chief Ian Davis said after the incident. “The boat was capsized. (There were) five students on the vessel.”
The names and ages of the students have not been released.
A dive team launched a search Thursday and found a body in the lake the next evening. The student’s name has not been released, but he attended Annunciation Catholic Academy in Altamonte Springs, according to the school’s Facebook page.
“Please pray for our student, missing in the tragic boating accident on Lake Fairview, and his family. We also ask that you keep our community in your prayers as well. May we find comfort in the loving arms of Jesus and each other. We ask our Blessed Mother to pray for us during this difficult time,” the post stated before the boy’s body was discovered.
Another victim was taken to AdventHealth Orlando and remains on life support, according to the statement from USRowing.
Three other students on the rowing shell were returned to their parents after being evaluated by firefighters, said Davis, who added that he believed all the students were middle schoolers.
“USRowing was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic weather-related accident that occurred in Florida on Thursday, (September 15), at the North Orlando Rowing Club involving a rowing shell with middle school students on Lake Fairview. Three of the rowers were treated and released at the scene with no serious injuries, one rower remains in the hospital on life support, and divers recovered the body of the fifth athlete from the lake the following day.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to all those impacted by this tragedy. When USRowing became aware of the incident, we followed up with safety and support services, sending staff to be present on premises to lend emotional and operational support to the club and community. We remain in close contact with the coaches and staff of North Orlando Rowing Club and the relevant state and local authorities as they investigate this incident.
“USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States,” the statement said.
Authorities have not released any information about investigations into the tragic incident.
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