Teen kayaker pulled from James River has died

RICHMOND, Va. – Christian Wood,  a  student at Trinity Episcopal School,  was taken off life support two days after he was pulled from the James River at Belle Isle, according to school officials.

Captain Earl Dyer with Richmond Fire said they pulled the high school senior from the river at approximately 5 p.m. on Monday, after his kayak flipped.  Authorities said his kayak capsized after he became stuck in a churning section of water near Belle Isle called a hydraulic.

Rescue crews said the teen’s friend pulled him from the water and started CPR. He was in cardiac arrest when he was pulled from the water and was rushed to the hospital.

Firefighters credit Wood`s friend who was riding the waves with him Monday for performing CPR and giving him a fighting chance at life.

On Monday the James River crested at 15.4 feet and was at moderate flood stage. When water levels are at 9 feet or above, no one is allowed on the river without a high water permit. Emergency officials and river experts advised Richmonders to avoid the water  because of dangerous runoff and debris in the raging river.

Wood was an avid kayaker, who documented on Vimeo his kayaking runs and travels. 

Robert Short, Head of Trinity school, was given permission from the family to share news of the student’s death with CBS 6.

Short released a statement that read:

 “The hearts of the Trinity community go out to the Wood family during this time of unimaginable difficulty. Our school is in a period of mourning, as we process this loss. We have provided counseling resources to any students seeking emotional support, and have communicated to parents that those resources are available. It is at times of intense emotion that our community is strengthened. I know that we will support our grieving students, parents, teachers, staff and broader community in the days and weeks to come.”

Sisters Virginia Randal and Mary Ann Walton have spent decades photographing along the James River. They were said the river was full of debris and kayakers on Monday

"It`s a shame something this beautiful could be so treacherous and dangerous," Walton said.

They witnessed the river rescue and said Woods' friend jumped in to help.

"I`m wondering how their friends feel that were with them," Walton said. "They were smart, they did what needed to be done."