Florida child struck by lightning while rowing in Lake Fairview fights for his life

A child remains in the hospital, recovering from Thursday’s rowing accident. Fire rescue officials say a bolt of lightning that struck near the boat caused it to capsize. 

According to K9 MC of Winter Park, a local motorcycle philanthropic group, the child celebrated his 12th birthday on Sunday. They along with other motorcyclists road by the main entrance of AdventHealth Children’s Hospital in a show of support. 

"We tried to give this young man, who loves motorcycles, to at least hear the motorcycles outside his door," said Christopher Wyatt. "Maybe that will help his morale."

Wyatt met the family in the Children’s ICU where his own son was being treated. 

"It was kind of coincidence," said Wyatt. "We were bonding over a warm cup of coffee of all things, and we got to talking about each other’s cases and realized what the person was going through."

This boy was hurt in the same lightning incident that cost another middle schooler their life. That child attended Annunciation Catholic School. They held Sunday mass in his honor. 

"We bow our hearts, we bend our knees, oh spirit make us humble," was read aloud by the priest. 

When the lightning struck, the boys were at rowing practice for North Orlando Rowing. Three other children were thrown from the boat but did not need to be transported. The tight-knit rowing community has been lending their support from all across the state. 

"I’ve also lost a child so I know a little bit about what that’s like. I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody," said Wyatt. "Just having a child in the hospital is scary so my prayers are with you and God bless."

"This community cares and we care about our children. We care for our community," said Les Ransom of K9 MC. 

The official US Rowing website lists suggested safety measures for all of their affiliated members. They say before anyone gets into the water coaches and rowers should check the forecast. They also advise rowers to be aware of gathering clouds, changes in wind speed and temperature while in the water.

US Rowing suggests wearing lightning detectors on your belt. They also say if you hear thunder or see lightning, get back to shore immediately.