FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. —Mark Ayers got a phone call Sunday night that no parent ever wants to get.
“The first call was ‘they’re doing CPR on your daughter,'” Ayers said.
Minutes later, he got a second call.
His daughter, 17-year-old Gabby Ayers, died Sunday after a boating accident while jet skiing with friends.
“I just fell to the ground, and I’m like this can’t be happening,” he said. “It’s not real.”
Ayers says Gabby loved sports, especially water sports like wakeboarding and jet skiing.
“She was just on fire for everything that she did,” he said.
She was also working for her family’s salon and spa and had just graduated from beauty school.
“Didn’t matter what was going on,” Ayers said. “Gabby always had a smile on her face.”
Investigators with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries say no charges have been filed yet.
The operator of the jet ski had minor non-life threatening injuries, according to Lee Walker, outreach director for VGDIF.
The operator and passenger of the boat had no injuries.
Walker says investigators have not determined if alcohol was a factor in the accident.
Ayers says he wants his daughter’s death to reflect the need for stricter boating laws.
“We need to crack down,” he said. “We need to make it harder for just anybody to go out and drive a boat.”
But even in the midst of his pain, Ayers says he’s finding peace, knowing that his daughter died doing what she loved.
“She was exactly where her love was as a hobby and that was on the water,” he said.