Orange County

Family of boy who died in rowing accident last year, files lawsuit against rowing club

ORLANDO, Fla. — The mother of a boy who died after a middle school rowing practice is now suing the rowing club.

Langston Rodriguez-Sane died last year after a lightning strike in Lake Fairview in September caused a rowboat he was in to capsize.

Rodriguez-Sane was one of four boys who made it to shore and was transported to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries.


Fire rescue crew found the body of another boy who was on the boat, about 24 hours later.

The lawsuit claims there were several different failures that led to his death.

“This is a tragedy of untold proportions that was totally preventable,” said the attorney for the family, Andrew Yaffa.

Read: 1 child injured, another missing after lightning strike near rowing practice on Lake Fairview

The lawsuit claims it was the boy’s first time on the water in a novice boat with virtually no training or any coaches around. It also claims the North Orlando Rowing Club staff failed to send the kids in on a day when bad weather was predicted.

The lawsuit goes on to say an on-site AED was not working and said there was no warning system on the lake to help rowers get to safety faster.

“Had they complied with the most basic standard of care, putting safety first, these boys would still be alive today,” Yaffa said. “It’s my hope and prayer that these children are being supervised and trained much better than Langston was.”

Read: Orlando rowing community holds vigil for those impacted by lightning strike

The rowing club has not commented on the lawsuit at this time. Its last public statement on the tragedy was back in September and read in part: “the North Orlando rowing community is devastated and continues to focus on supporting our affected families and our entire team during this difficult time. We are beyond grateful for the outpouring of love and concern from around the world.”

The United State Rowing Association who named in the lawsuit sent Channel 9 a statement that reads: “USRowing is heartbroken by the events that took place on September 15, 2022, on Lake Fairview, and our deepest condolences go out to the families involved in this tragedy. Out of respect for the families involved, we feel it inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

The College Park Lion’s Club which was also named in the lawsuit has not responded to Channel 9′s request for a statement.

Read: Second rower dies after lightning strike, Orlando rowing club says

The lawsuit asks for damages in excess of $100,000.

The family of Gavin Christman has not filed a lawsuit of their own at this time.

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