It was a normal day, like, we were planning on going fishing and I had been sitting right
next to Kali. The boat had taken a sudden turn and we weren’t expecting it. [Ryan]
And we’re all, like, let’s go jump off the dock. That’ll be really fun. We’re all hot.
It’ll cool us down. [Traci]
I’ve gone canoeing in the past but, I mean, not at a lake or anything. [Ryan]
Then Connor has the idea to have a game called “pig.” [Gabby]
I just saw her, just fly off the edge and [Traci]
So we went out there and the waves were kinda, were kinda bad. [Ryan]
He does a flip and he lands and he comes up. Uh, all these bubbles come out then he goes
back down. [Gabby]
We heard, um, something hit the motor but we didn’t know what it was and everything,
everyone just froze for a while. [Traci]
It, it flipped us and at that initial moment we weren’t thinking, “Oh, my gosh, like, we
have to swim all the way back.” And, because it didn’t seem very far at all. When we looked
back the shore looked pretty close. [James]
And when I walked into my office, turned on my computer, my assistant came in, tears in
her eyes, you know, she said, “Donna’s on the phone. She’s hysterical.” That’s my wife.
And Donna couldn’t even speak. She’s, she was saying, Kali’s been thrown from a boat.
You know, she had a terrible accident. [Ryan]
Then once he doesn’t come up, we know he’s not joking. [Dana]
He doesn’t have life vest on. And so… he didn’t make it. [Traci]
I just thought it would be fun and we- life jackets didn’t really even cross our minds.
And it just didn’t seem like we needed them or anything. [James]
One thing that I believe would have helped, you know, I think if Kali may have had- she
didn’t have a life preserver on, and I think a life preserver would have given her some
buoyancy and maybe she wouldn’t have actually sunk to the prop level and it might have saved
her life. [Traci]
I saw Kiefer just like kind of doggy paddling in one place, looking up, and I was- I just
yelled at him, “Kiefer, come on, let’s go!” And he didn’t say anything back so I just
turned around and kept swimming for a few more seconds. It wasn’t very much longer then
I turned around again and didn’t see, I didn’t see him anymore. [James]
Because I went in to identify her. She was beautiful … but gone. [Ryan]
All these thoughts are going through your mind, like, “What’s going to happen? What
could happen? Uh… Could he be saved? Will he? Or will he not?” [Dana]
So we get there and, uh, we learn that, that Connor was gone. So just in the course of
five hours, one Friday, our happy family of four turned into a broken family of three.
Just like that. [snap] [Gabby]
Think about her every day. I think about her when I wake up. During the day. Every minute. [Dana]
I see what I can’t see. I see Connor under the water and I can’t get to him. That’s what
I see. [James]
Please wear a life jacket when you’re on the water. [Ryan]
Wear a life jacket. It could save your life. [Traci]
Always wear a life jacket. I do. [Dana]
If my son were wearing a life jacket, he would be here today.
Always wear a life jacket. [waves lapping]