Student missing, 1 injured after Orlando rowing club boat capsizes following lightning strike

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A search for a missing student is underway on a Florida lake after a lightning strike caused a rowing team’s boat to capsize Thursday afternoon.

Five students with the North Orlando Rowing Club were practicing on Lake Fairview in Orlando around 5:50 pm when lightning reportedly struck the area, according to city spokeswoman Jennifer DeSantis.

One student went missing during the incident and another was transported to AdventHealth Orlando in unknown condition. The conditions of the remaining three students were not immediately released. Authorities also did not specify their ages.

First responders continue the search for a missing rower on Lake Fairview in Orlando following a lightning strike Thursday afternoon.

First responders continue the search for a missing rower on Lake Fairview in Orlando following a lightning strike Thursday afternoon.
(Deborah Choe/Fox 35)

Around 1:40 am Friday, the Orlando Fire Department’s dive teams were reportedly wrapping up for the night as Seminole County dive crews took over the search with sonar technology, according to Fox 35.

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Fox 35’s Deborah Choe reported early Friday morning that first responders would not say if they were conducting a rescue or recovery operation.

In a news conference at the scene, Orlando Fire Executive Deputy Chief Ian Davis said there are a lot of currents that “have the ability to move the victim.” Davis added crews are moving back and forth to make sure they aren’t missing anything.

Though the rowers have not been identified, the group’s Facebook page describes the club as serving boys and girls ages 12 to 18.

An Orlando police officer talks to women near Lake Fairview as crews search for a missing rower following a lightning strike on Sept. 15, 2022.

An Orlando police officer talks to women near Lake Fairview as crews search for a missing rower following a lightning strike on Sept. 15, 2022.
(WOFL)

The club’s posted schedule showed the middle school and JV/Varsity teams were out on the lake practicing at the time of the strike.

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An Orlando police officer walks toward a firefighter as first responders search for a rower who went missing following a lightning strike on Lake Fairview.

An Orlando police officer walks toward a firefighter as first responders search for a rower who went missing following a lightning strike on Lake Fairview.
(WOFL)

The South Orlando Rowing Association posted the following statement on Facebook late Thursday evening as the search for the missing rower continued:

“Our hearts go out to our friends at North Orlando Rowing. Geronimo and his entire team have been true friends to our club, and we are asking that all of our rowers, parents, and anyone else who views this post has them in their thoughts .”

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Authorities believe the five students were from various schools in central Florida.

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