McCANDLESS (KDKA) — For a kid, it doesn’t get much better than a thrill ride on a zip line. There is some danger with the aerial rope slides, but usually it’s a low risk.

“The whole North Allegheny area is affected, I think, whenever one of the kids goes,” says Fr. Al McGinnis, the pastor at St. John Neumann Church.

On Tuesday, Rex Smith of McCandless died of injuries resulting from a zip line accident on Sunday. He would have turned 14 this month. He and his dog, Rosie, were a team.

“Rex was a great kid,” said Fr. McGinnis. “He was one of those ones that was involved in Boy Scouts. He was working on his Eagle project.”

Rex was an altar boy, serving Mass at St. John Neumann Church. He also helped with Vacation Bible School. Fr. McGinnis says the boy was always asking, “What else can I do?”

According to McCandless Township Police, Rex and his friends were riding a homemade zip line in a backyard on Ben Franklin Drive. There was a mechanical failure and the braking system, anchored to the ground, came loose hitting the back of Rex’s head.

“Thirteen years is such a small period of time,” said Fr. McGinnis.

Rex died at Children’s Hospital Tuesday. His donated organs will mean life for others.

He would have been an eighth grade student at Ingomar Middle School and loved soccer and baseball.

Some of his classmates met Wednesday evening at the church to remember their dear friend.

Rex leaves behind his mom and dad, Connie and Rex, as well as two sisters, Jamie and Kelly.

The viewing will be at St. John Neumann, many are expected to attend. And on Saturday morning, Fr. McGinnis will have the nearly impossible task of giving comfort to Rex’s family and friends.

“I don’t know anybody has the words to fill that,” said Fr. McGinnis. “Hopefully, we come to recognize every moment that we have is a gift.”

Teen Boy Injured While Zip Lining, Dies At Hospital (6/10/14)
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