Tanner Webb's parents recall how they learned of river accident

Parents of Tanner Webb recall how they learned of deadly accident

CRAVEN COUNTY - In an interview with NewsChannel 12, the parents of Tanner Webb described how they found out their 15-year-old son fell into the Trent River.

Trish and Matt Webb are the parents of Tanner, a freshman left-handed pitcher at New Bern High School who dreamed about playing at UNC Chapel Hill.

But just before 4:30 p.m. on June 2, Tanner fell off a 21-foot boat into the Trent River near Gull Pointe in River Bend. His body was found just before 1 p.m. the next day not far from where he fell, said the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

Trish recalled the moments when she found out about the accident.

"I'm yelling, 'Get me there!' They were trying to direct me on the phone and I just pulled into the driveway. No phone, no shoes-- I just ran. I ran to the dock. I don't think I could be briefed, Trish told NewsChannel 12.

Tanner was the oldest of Trish and Matt's three sons. They said Tanner was out boating with five of his friends when Tanner's boat hit a wake and he went overboard. The other boys dove into the water, but Tanner could not be found.

"The mother of the twins was on a boat with them and another boat had the other boys, and I yelled, "Who is it? Who is it?' She broke down in tears and at that point, I knew," Matt recalled. "When we found out it was in the middle of the river's deepest parts, when friends jumped in to get him and they couldn't even touch the ground because it was so deep-- the murkiness, the depth. They couldn't get to him."

"The mother part in me kicked in and it was, 'Find him!' I need my boy. I needed them to find my baby. I needed to touch him and hold him," Trish said.

Family and friends showed their support as the Coast Guard, local fire departments, and teams from other parts of the state searching for Tanner. His body was found about 20 hours later.

"He did look like himself. He looked like he was sleeping. He really did," said Trish. "One of my fears was, 'What condition was he going to be in?'"

Tanner's parents said they understand their son's death was the result of an accident, and they want the other five boys on the boat to know that.

"We knew they were riding in the boat. We knew they weren't messing around," said Trish.

"We know those boys and our son. We had all the confidence they weren't doing something they weren't supposed to," Matt added.

Trish and Matt said Tanner's body has been cremated.

About three thousand people attended a memorial ceremony for Tanner at New Bern High School's baseball field Monday morning. The teen's No. 5 uniform was retired at the gathering.

Tanner's parents said they hope Tanner's life will show others how to live every day to the fullest.

"The choices you make can changeĀ  your life and others around you. In just a moment, it can change. But on the flip side, this moment chose Tanner and it has changed everybody's life," Trish said.

Officials have not released an exact cause of death. But Tanner's parents said District Attorney Scott Thomas will release more details on the accident next week.

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