WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) – Community members around the Buckhorn Reservoir were grieving the loss of a 14-year-old boy who was found dead after being thrown from a boat on Sunday.
“Devastating, just devastating,” Karen Gabbard who lives near the reservoir said. “My friend texted me and told me, because we live right on Buckhorn Lake, and she told me there was a young boy missing.”
The entire community is now thinking of and praying for, the family of that young victim.
“It’s just something that could happen to anyone,” Gabbard said.
Gabbard said as crews searched for the boy into the night, she and her husband realized how close it hit to home.
“Before we went to bed last night I grabbed his hand and I was like, ‘Honey you gotta’ pray with me,’ I said, ‘This is somebody’s baby,’ and I said ‘I just want them to find him, wherever he is.’”
The tragedy is reminding boaters to take precautions, and always be prepared when on the water.
“You should take a boating course so you know what you need on the boat, life vests, fire extinguishers, things of that nature,” Israel Stacker, a local boater, said.
He said when it comes to being on a boat, there’s no such thing as being too prepared.
Stacker said after hearing what happened on Sunday, he spent Monday making sure his boat is ready for Father’s Day, so he can take his daughters out on the water safely.
“I’m coming out here testing the boat first, first time this year bringing it out, so I wanted to bring it out and make sure everything works properly,” he said.
While there are no details on whether the 14-year-old was wearing a life vest, boaters CBS 17 spoke with said that’s the number one thing on their checklist.
“There has to be a life vest on The boat for every person. A life vest, a sponge, throw ring, or something like that on the boat for everybody,” Stacker said.
On Monday morning, after the boy’s body was found, the reservoir reopened to the public.
Now, neighbors say all they can do, is pray for the teen’s family.
“As a community, I just want them to know we’re praying, we’re praying for you, and that we’re here, whatever we can do as a community to help,” Gabbard said.
Police have not released any more details about the victim or the incident. They said the investigation is ongoing.