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Recent Brighton HS graduate killed in boating accident

Owen Thomas, a 2017 Brighton High School graduate, was killed Thursday night in a boating accident in Schuyler County. (Photo: Brighton HS)

Brighton, N.Y. (WHAM) - A Brighton High School graduate was killed Thursday night in a boating accident in Schuyler County.

Owen Thomas died in the accident on Waneta Lake, according to Brighton Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin McGowan.

Schuyler County Sheriff's deputies told WENY-TV that one person fell overboard around 8 pm.

Two other people aboard the boat were taken to Soldiers and Sailors Hospital in Penn Yan for treatment.

Thomas was a 2017 graduate from the high school. He was described as "an active, accomplished student, a multi-sport athlete and just an all-around good soul."

"We are incredibly saddened by this loss and express our heartfelt condolences to his family and all of those undoubtedly deeply affected by this tragedy," Dr. McGowan said in the statement.

Thomas planned to start classes at the University of Rochester in the fall semester, according to the Associated Press.

"He was an extraordinary person," said Thomas' best friend, Matt Lipschitz. "It's really hard to accept, and I haven't accepted it yet. It will take a long time."

Lipschitz said he learned about Thomas' death through a text message from Thomas' girlfriend.

"Just the feeling of like, 'No,' like, there were so many things that were supposed to happen, and, like, together," he said.

He remembers camping and going to prom with who he called his brother.

"He was the most adventurous person I ever encountered," Lipschitz said. "There was never an opportunity that he didn't take to be outside and to be with people and have fun with life. We’d have so many fun memories just being outside with his family, which is something he cherished immensely.”

The cause of the boating accident is still uninvestigation.

A statement was posted to the Brighton School District website Friday morning. Counselors will be on hand every day from noon until 3 p.m. from Friday until next Tuesday.

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