A family and community are left devastated after a young student, who traveled from Ireland to the United States to further her education, tragically died in a kayaking trip over the weekend.
Ella Mills, who was studying at Columbia University in New York as part of a dual BA program with Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, joined the university’s Whitewater Kayaking Club on a kayaking trip on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., Sunday afternoon. She never returned.
According to the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service, Mills was in the Little Falls when she became trapped under a rock and was unable to escape. She had only arrived in New York earlier this month, school administrators said in a statement to students.
“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,” Columbia University’s President Minouche Shafik said in a letter.
The school hosted a “community reflection” event Monday evening to remember the third-year student at the Peter J. Awn GS Student Lounge in Lewisohn Hall.
Approximately two dozen people from Columbia University were on the trip when the accident happened. (Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service)
Ella Mills, who was studying at Columbia University in New York, died during a kayaking trip in the Potomac River. (American Whitewater/Glenn Fisher)
Columbia University’s leaders also offered support and guidance to students grappling with the loss, including psychological and religious services.
The investigation into the death remains ongoing.