RIPLEY, W.Va. — A 13-year-old Charleston boy drowned Sunday afternoon during a church outing at Parchment Valley Conference Center in Jackson County.

Investigators with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department said the boy was with Emmanuel Baptist Church of Charleston when he got into a kayak, which eventually overturned. Authorities said the boy was not wearing a life jacket. Rescue crews searched for the body for several hours and pulled it to the shore Sunday evening.

The boy’s name was not initially released but reports said he was a student at Stonewall Jackson Middle School in Charleston and counselors were expected at the school Monday.

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  • RedGal

    Please put your energy into prayers and sympathy for the family and friends and church family of this young man, instead of criticizing and pointing fingers. This was traumatic for the fellow youth who were there, the chaperones, church members and first responders as well.

    • Mitch

      @ RedGal,

      In case it escaped your attention, the other posters are putting their energy into trying to prevent this very type of accident from occurring in the first place.

      • RedGal

        That hasn't by any means escaped anyone's attention. My comment simply stated that this is a tragic accident. And, yes, a very preventable accident. I think everyone understands that. But understand that those reading these posts may not only be friends and family of the victim, but also the folks that were there when it happened, some who may have participated the search and recovery, and first responders. My post pointed out that ALL involved are traumatized when something like this occurs. Save the venom, pitchforks and piousness. That doesn't help anyone.

  • Ruth

    It's easy to sit back and criticize, blame, call names, and assume things in the wake of tragedy. Try to imagine how you would feel if it were someone close to you that was supervising. We need to pray for the family of the young man who drowned, as well as the camp staff.

  • Ryan

    I spent 4 summers working as a lifeguard at a summer camp that had canoeing/kayaking/sailing/etc, including 2 years as the waterfront director. This story makes my heart sink because it goes against even the most basic water safety guidelines that any camp should enforce. Day 1, minute 1 of the small watercraft safety course that certifies staff to supervise these activities is how to select the proper PFD size, how to make sure it is properly worn, and how to check everything is good to go even before a kid gets near the kayak - even if that kid is a world class swimmer. Even if this was just a group using the camp and that brought their own boats, no way that camp should let them anywhere near their lake without requiring PFDs and staff supervision.

    Unbelievable. Really just unimaginable how stupid and easily preventable this was. My heart goes out the parents of the child. So, so, so sad.

  • Sue Baby Sue

    What a pack of idiots. No life coat on a 13 year old boy. These adults should be held accountable. If it was my boy. I would sue the pants off these people.

  • A Dad

    My children are attending camp there this summer. I'm having second thoughs now. How in the world could those kids not be suprevised enough to go on that lake without life jackets?

    • Janice

      If it's a local camp in teays valley with a pool and lake, I'm not sending my kid. It's not properly staffed

  • Fred

    Any adults who were involved in this outing need to be held responsible for this boy's death, up to and including the director of the conference center. This drowning was easily avoidable.

    • Ah

      I agree completely. Why that kid was not wearing a PDF is beyond me. That's why we really need to respect boating laws and be safe around the water. You never know what can happen.

      • Aj