Friends remember Brighton teen killed in boating accident

August 11, 2017 11:18 PM

The Brighton High School family is stunned and grief-stricken on Friday.

The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office says Owen Thomas was killed in a freak boating accident on Waneta Lake Thursday night.

He was 17 and had just graduated in June. He was set to start at the University of Rochester next week.

"Owen would always give me some of his new gear or let me borrow it," said Mehti Squalli, friend.

Mehti Squalli remembers how generous Owen Thomas was. They were in lacrosse together. Squalli went on to football, but they remained friends.

"He was always pushing us to be adventurous, try something new," Squalli tells us.

Squalli says there was never a dull moment around Thomas… He remembers a recent trip to the Adirondacks; it was a boy’s trip.

"He always wanted to go fishing," Squalli says. "He’d always say, 'Let’s go mini-golfing' -- there never just a boring moment. Playing poker with him was just fun."

Thomas was at Waneta Lake when deputies say he became the victim of a freak boating accident. Thomas somehow fell off a ski boat. He didn't survive. Two others were injured and taken to the hospital.

"He was just the most spontaneous, adventurous like fun," Squalli recalls, "just not serious person."

Matt Lipschitz had known Thomas since they were in the sixth grade together. They played clarinet in the school band. He says there’s a lesson to learn from the life Thomas lived.

"I hope people just take a second to remember how fragile life is and you should never waste a moment," he says. "Be kind to people, take every moment and make the most of it, because that's undeniably what he did."

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Lynette Adams

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