CRAVEN COUNTY - Family, friends and community members held a paddle-out tribute Thursday for Tanner Webb, the 15-year-old who died after falling into the Trent River.
Webb, a freshman at New Bern High School and a left-handed pitcher on the junior varsity baseball team, was boating with his friends when he fell into the Trent River near River Bend Monday afternoon. His body was recovered on Tuesday not far from where he fell, said officials with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
Webb loved the water, boating and surfing, said his friends. To honor the 15-year-old, students at New Bern High School organized a paddle-out tribute Thursday afternoon.
About 100 people showed up at the New Bern Golf & Country Club. They then paddled out into the Trent River and formed a circle, where they said a prayer and tossed flowers into the water.
Friends said this tribute helped heal open wounds.
"I feel like it was closure," said New Bern High School senior Blair Davenport. "It gave people more of a positive idea, instead of thinking of the water as a place of where we lost Tanner. It's now where we can remember his life, and the life he lived."
"It's great to see how many people he impacted," said New Bern High School sophomore Mary Bennett Doty. "And to not just see kids here-- but adults, youth, pastors-- and just to see all their support was great."
A memorial service for Webb is scheduled to be held on Monday, June 9 at 10 a.m. at the baseball field of New Bern High School. Webb's No. 5 jersey will be retired during Monday's ceremony.
The Wildlife Resources Commission said six people, all younger than 18, were on the 21-foot boat when Webb fell before 4:30 p.m. Monday. The teen was reportedly not wearing a life jacket, the Coast Guard said.
Webb's body was taken to Onslow Memorial Hospital for an autopsy, although an exact cause of death has not been released.
The accident remains under investigation.