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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Alexander Butler

Irish student dies after getting ‘pinned’ under rock in US kayaking accident

Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service

An Irish student has died after becoming trapped under a rock in a river while on a kayaking trip in Washington.

Ella Mills, who was studying at Columbia University as part of a dual BA programme with Trinity College Dublin, died in the kayaking accident on the Potomac River on Sunday.

The student was on a trip with the Columbia Whitewater Kayaking Club when she got “pinned” under a rock, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service said.

Passersby rushed to try and help her but she did not survive.

President of Columbia University Minouche Shafik said she was "heartbroken" over the death of the English studies student.

She said: “Words cannot express how heartbroken I feel for her family, her friends, her loved ones, and those students from the university who were with her on this trip.”

In an email to the university, Lisa Rosen-Metsch, a dean and professor at Columbia, added: “Ella had a love for learning, was intellectually curious, and passionate about literature—eager to soak in new ways of looking at literature and viewing the world as a literary scholar.

“She was an active member of the Trinity College Dublin community as part of the Trinity College Dublin drama society, the DU Players, the Trinity College Dublin Tennis Club, and the Philosophical Society, among many others.

“She is survived by her loving parents, brother and sister. Our thoughts and compassion are with them at this very difficult time.”

A spokesperson for Trinity College Dublin said the school community was “grieving the tragic loss” of Ms Mills.

Columbia University said it is offering counselling and support services for students following her death and a vigil will be held on Tuesday evening

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