Trinity Episcopal student dies after kayak overturns in James River

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — 8News has learned that the kayaker who had to be pulled from the James River near Belle Isle Monday afternoon has died. He has been identified as Christian Wood, who was a senior at Trinity Episcopal School in Richmond.

Students and staff who knew Wood remember him as a talented and driven young man who looked forward to becoming a world-class kayaker.

Authorities said Wood was pulled from the river in cardiac arrest Monday after his kayak overturned and he became caught in the hydraulics. A friend who was kayaking alongside him struggled in an attempted to keep Wood above water.

A family friend tells 8News Wood and his friend each had 10 years of kayaking experience and their summer jobs required them to have 40 hours of rescue training each year.

Lt. Michael Oprandi from Richmond Fire reminds everyone that rough conditions on the river pose a danger, even for those with experience.

“We just ask people to respect the river,” Lt. Oprandi. If you don’t respect the current with this water, it will take you out.”


Trinity Episcopal released the following statement Wednesday evening:

“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.”

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