NC kayaker mourned after tragic death in whitewater
By Brittany Nicholson, WRCBtv.com
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Everyone knows how dangerous a rushing river can be. Shannon Christy knew it, too.
Christy, from Andrews, NC, drowned while practicing for a kayak race on the Potomac River north of Washington D.C. Thursday.
She and her friend, Chuck Thornton went over the falls and fell out of their kayaks. Thornton clung to rocks as he watched Christy remove her life vest so she could swim to the Maryland shore. He then saw her go down one of the "fingers," the rockiest and most dangerous part of the falls.
That was the last Thornton saw Christy alive. Once Thornton was rescued the search for Christy's body began.
The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Squad watched as a group of professional kayakers risked their lives to retrieve Christy's body from beneath the surface where she was pinned.
Christy was signed up to participate in the Great Falls Race, which was set for Saturday, July 13. The race is known for its difficulty with Class V rapids and has an incredible drop of over 50 feet in just one minute, according to the American Whitewater Association.
The race was cancelled in the wake of the tragedy, but kayakers gathered in the river on Saturday morning to grieve Christy's death.
Although Shannon will always be known for her lack of fear and love of water, her positivity and faith seem to be what resonates as many remember her.
Her last Facebook post on the day she died was a picture of her registration for the Great Falls Race. Under her bio she says "I just really like smiling, it's my favorite."
On Friday, her father, Lee Christy, posted: "Though we will miss her immensely, we feel blessed that God graced us with 23 years of Shannon's beautiful smile and winning personality.
My wish is; that Shannon impacted your life as much as ours!"