Fla. Teen Dies in Rafting Accident After Truck Pulls Him from Pond to Parking Lot

Christian Garner


A Florida family is grieving the loss of 18-year-old Christian Garner, who died in a rafting accident in Pensacola on Saturday, ABC station WEAR-TV reported.

"Christian was my baby boy," his mother, who hasn't been identified and wasn't ready to speak on camera, told WEAR-TV. "He was such a mama's boy growing up. He loved working on cars, and he just started a new four-wheeler project. He loved to fish. He really loved his family, and we all love him so much. He was the best brother ever. My other two kids just lost their best friend."

The deadly accident took place near the Blue Wahoos Stadium, where the teenager had been riding a raft in a retention pond, Pensacola Police Department Public Information Officer Mike Wood tells PEOPLE.

His raft was attached to a pick-up truck in the nearby parking lot, where at some point the driver accelerated, pulling the raft through the pond and up onto the bank between the water and lot, Wood says.

Due to the curve of the bank, Garner was launched from the raft as it hit the ground, and the teen ended up landing in the parking lot, where he instantly died, Wood says.

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Though the incident was captured on video and authorities don't think the two were there for long prior to the man's death, police are looking for more witnesses as the investigation continues, Wood says.

At this time, the driver is not facing charges, Wood adds. Both families are cooperating with police.

A GoFundMe campaign has been established to help Garner's single mom cover funeral expenses. So far the page has raised over $4,000.