SPRINGDALE(KDKA) — A local community is mourning the death of a young girl who died during a boating accident in Florida.

Olivia Wade, 8, of Springdale, was injured Friday while on a boat with family members on the St. Johns River near Palatka – about an hour south of Jacksonville, Fla.

She was a passenger on the boat when it accidentally hit a dock.

“We never know when our time is up, but why for an 8-year-old I’ll never understand,” Harry Helwig, a neighbor, said. “I just really can’t put my brain around that. I actually went down this morning and talked to my priest.”

Helwig said she was like a granddaughter he never had.

“As soon as you saw her, you just – lit you up,” he described. “That’s the kind of kid she was, you know. She was always out here playing. She’d play with my 3-year-old grandson … They were out here hopscotching and riding heir bikes and scooters and it’s just devastating what happened to her.”

Wade was a student at Acmetonia Elementary School in Cheswick which is part of the Allegheny Valley School District.

The school district expressed its condolences in a statement.

“Olivia Wade was a bright and outgoing third-grade student who was active in the school and throughout the community. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family and friends during this difficult time.”

The school says grief counselors will be on hand this week to provide support for students and faculty.

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Allegheny Valley School District
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