Double-Amputee Army Vet Dies in Paddleboard Accident

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2018 12:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – A double-amputee Army veteran who was called an "adventure seeker" and "strong-willed man" by friends died Wednesday in the Chesapeake Bay while paddleboarding, NPR and the Washington Post report. Cody Iorns, 25, pushed off land near Annapolis, Md., around 6pm Wednesday with three other paddlers, but rough conditions—including 5-foot-waves and 25mph wind gusts—soon caused Iorns to fall behind his friends. "They all of a sudden looked back and noticed that Cody had fallen from his paddleboard and was face down in the water," Candy Thomson, a rep for the Maryland Natural Resources Police, tells NPR. The others pulled Iorns, whose life jacket hadn't inflated, back onto his board and administered CPR, which medics took over when they arrived on the scene, but it was too late.

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Iorns was pronounced dead at Anne Arundel Medical Center; the state medical examiner said the cause of death was accidental drowning. The Capital Gazette notes Iorns' death brings the number of boat-related fatalities so far for 2018 to 10; last year by this time there had only been four. "We're on pace for one of the deadliest years boating-wise in Maryland," says MNRP Capt. Brian Rathgeb. The Annapolis paddleboard community, meanwhile, is mourning the loss of Iorns, a former Army medic who lost his arms after a 2015 motorcycle accident but had become an inspiration in the stand-up paddleboard community. His story had just been featured by National Geographic last year. "He was our brother," paddleboard company Capital SUP Annapolis posted on Facebook. "He was an inspiration to everyone on and off the water." (Read more paddleboarding stories.)

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