The search for a missing rowing student on a central Florida lake came to a tragic close Friday afternoon after dive teams located and recovered the body of the middle-school aged boy.
After a day-long search, Orlando Fire Department spokesperson Jennifer DeSantis said the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit located the North Orlando Rowing student missing on Lake Fairview around 5:15 p.m. His identity has not been released.
“On behalf of the Orlando Fire Department and all the first responders on scene, our hearts go out to the families and friends impacted by this tragedy,” DeSantis said.
The boy went missing on the lake Thursday afternoon after a boat carrying five students with the North Orlando Rowing Club capsized following a lightning strike during practice. The students are reportedly middle schoolers, according to FOX 35 in Orlando.
Another student was injured in the strike and transported to AdventHealth Orlando in unknown condition. The three remaining students were assessed at the scene and released.
DeSantis said multiple agencies in the Orlando area assisted in the rescue and recovery operation, including Orlando police, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Fire Rescue and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
The North Orlando Rowing Club, which is described as a non-profit organization serving boys and girls ages 12 to 18, released the following statement Friday on Facebook:
“As has been reported, we learned we lost one of our rowers in this tragic accident. The NOR family is devastated and heartbroken. We are working together to support the family and our rowing family. We will not have any other comments at this time and ask that the media and community allow us time to process.”
The Orlando Rowing Club – Dragon Boat Club, an organization who also practices on Lake Fairview, said it will be hosting a vigil at 8 a.m. Saturday in lieu of practice as a sign of solidarity.
According to the National Weather Service, the boy’s death marks the third lightning-related fatality in Florida this year and the 18th in the country.