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The north Arlington community is in mourning after a tragic kayaking accident took the life of a well-liked 17-year-old.
The Arlington Fire Department said the teen, who has been identified as John Cookson, was kayaking with friends along Village Creek Wednesday night when his kayak flipped near Findlay Drive.
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One of his friends called 911. Another was trying to pull him out of the water when first responders arrived.
Cookson was rushed to the hospital where he died.
The halls of his high school were somber Thursday morning as his classmates, teachers and other community members learned what had happened.
“When they suffer a tragic accident like this, it reverberates through the entire school,” said Andy Hagman, principal at Lamar High School.
Cookson was a junior at Lamar, where he was a member of the tennis team and played in the school orchestra.
“John was a very well respected, liked kid,” said Hagman. “He was very involved.”
Hagman read a special tribute to Cookson during the morning announcements Thursday. Grief counselors were also brought in.
“It’s important to me that as a school, we see this as a family,” said Hagman. “And when one member is hurting or one member is grieving, then we are all paying attention.”
That grieving extends well beyond the walls of the school. The Texas Rangers sent out a tweet Thursday afternoon expressing their condolences. Cookson worked for Globe Life Park as a valet.
Emergency officials said this is a tragic reminder of how dangerous the rivers and creeks are right now. Many of them are running much higher and much faster because of all the rain Arlington has received.
They’re urging anyone who gets on the water to wear a life preserver.
They said Cookson and his friends were not wearing life preservers.