PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. — A 10-year-old boy was killed and a 9-year-old boy was critically injured in a tubing accident over the weekend in Virginia.
Grayson Payne Austin, a rising 5th-grader at Walton Elementary School, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which happened around 8 p.m. Saturday on Lake Lanier off Lanier Road, WTVR reports. Also known as Butterworth Pond, the lake is a small 33-acre body of water surrounded by a few private homes.
The 9-year-old boy, who has not been publicly identified, was in critical condition at VCU Medical Center after undergoing emergency surgery Saturday night, the station reports.
Lee Walker with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said the boys were in a tube being pulled by a 19-foot boat driven by three of their parents when the tube hit an “obscure object” in the water.
“The boat made a turn in which it forced the tube into a partially-submerged tree and then ejected both of the tubers, or children riding on the tubes, into the woods,” Walker said.
Prince George Fire and EMS, Virginia State Police and The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries all responded to the scene.
On Sunday afternoon, Emporia native and NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler publically dedicated his NASCAR win to the Austin family.
“We needed this win, we’re racing with very heavy hearts today,” Sadler said. “Friends had some of the worst tragedy I’ve ever heard of in my life… This race is for them.”
A memorial service for Grayson Austin will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Christ & Grace Episcopal Church.