Orange County

Orlando rowing community holds vigil for those impacted by lightning strike

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando rowing community held a vigil Saturday morning to honor and support those impacted by the tragic lightning strike.


Many of those rowers visit the lake every day.

Tears, hugs and words of comfort were spoken over lit candles at a vigil held to honor the eighth grader killed during a lightning storm Thursday.

Read: Firefighters recover body of student who went missing after lightning strike near Lake Fairview

Orlando Fire crews said lightning stuck on or near a rowboat with five middle school boys on board.

Only four rowers made it out of the water, which led to a search to find the fifth rower.

Crews discovered the boy’s body nearly 24 hours later.

Read: Divers search for missing child after lightning strike near Orlando rowing club

“When we race, we support each other by cheering for each other, whether we’re against each other, or in separate races,” said Beth Schumacher, a Warrior on Water spokesperson.

She said that everyone in the rowing community is family, and when one person is hurting, everyone empathizes with them.

Investigators are working to determine what exactly happened before the boat capsized.

The community has vowed to take extra precautions.

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

The tragedy also serves as a reminder to those in attendance at the vigil to not take any moment with loved ones for granted.

“The idea that you just don’t know what life holds is really heart-wrenching. So you’re going to hold your kids a little tighter. You’re going to stay a little closer to your team members and you’re going to appreciate life,” Schumacher said.

As of Friday, the fifth boy was in critical condition and the community offered thoughts and prayers for his wellbeing.

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