• Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

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Second student rower dies after boat capsizes amid likely lightning strike in Orlando lake

Two middle school students in Florida have died after their boat capsized during an apparent lightning strike while they were out for rowing practice earlier this month.

A boat holding athletes with the North Orlando Rowing Club, a competitive rowing club for students in Central Florida, capsized in Lake Fairview, Orlando, on Sept. 15 at 5:50 p.m., the Orlando Fire Department said. It said lightning had struck in the area at the same time, according to preliminary reports. It is still not clear whether the lightning caused the boat to capsize.

Five rowers were on the boat at the time. Three rowers were treated and released at the scene with no serious injuries, the United States Rowing Association said in a statement.

One student was hospitalized at AdventHealth Orlando after the incident, fire officials said. USRowing said the child was placed on life support.

Another student was missing for 24 hours before their body was recovered by divers the following evening, fire officials said. 

North Orlando Rowing (NOR) said on September 16, “We learned we lost one of our rowers in this tragic accident.” 

On Saturday, the rowing club announced the death of the child who was hospitalized.

“It is with broken hearts that we share the passing of a second rower involved in last Thursday’s weather-related tragedy,” NOR posted on their Facebook page. “The NOR community is devastated and continues to focus on supporting our affected families and our entire NOR team during this difficult time.”

The club said that it is cooperating with local authorities and USRowing with investigations into the incident.  

“We are beyond grateful for the outpouring of love and concern from around the world. Please continue to hold our families in your prayers,” the club said in a statement.

The names of the victims were not officially released.

NBC News has reached out to NOR for comment.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to all those impacted by this tragedy,” USRowing said in a statement, noting it sent staff “to lend emotional and operational support to the club and community.”