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Grief counselors available after Ellington student death

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ELLINGTON -- The community is mourning the loss of an Ellington High School student and grief counselors will be available Tuesday, Ellington schools superintendent confirmed.

Jordyn Engler, 14, died in a rafting accident in upstate New York Saturday. She was with her father Jeff, who was injured in the accident, and will be returning to Connecticut "in [the] near future,"  according to Ellington Schools Superintendent Scott Nicol.

"Our prayers and thoughts go out to the Engler family and friends," Nicol said. "Together, as a caring, tight-knit community, we will support one another during this difficult time." said Nicol said.

Around 11:00 a.m. Saturday, the teen and her father were white water rafting in Espous Creek in Shandaken, New York, when the accident happened, according to officials from Ulster County Sheriff. Police and rescue personnel responded and rescued the father, and later discovered the teen's body.

A call for two people in distress in the water came into the sheriff's office around 11:15 a.m.   Dive teams were able to rescue the adult male but had to wait until water flow from a nearby reservoir that goes into the creek was turned off and the water level lowered before they could recover the juvenile female.

The man, Jeff Engler was rescued, but it took several hours for  several area water rescue and dive teams to find the body of Jordyn Engler, who was hospitalized, but recovered from his injuries, Nicol said.

Jeff Engler posted about the tragedy of losing his daughter on a tubing trip in upstate New York on Facebook, asking for people's prayers and support and to hug their children for him.

"The worst post I will ever make in my life.  We were having such an amazing time before the freak accident happened.  This picture was taken two hours before,"  Engler posted.

"Prayers for the Engler family," superintendent Scott Nicol said. The counselors were at the school 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, and more will be available when school is back in session Tuesday.

The high school student was a singer, and she performed at the Ellington High School Talent Show earlier this year, as seen in the video above.

For two seasons, Engler was a member of the Manchester-based Fierce All Stars  cheerleading team.

"Our hearts are heavy during this time," according to a team statement. "Jordyn had a beautiful soul and we are all honored to have had the opportunity to have her in our lives."

"Yesterday, we heard about her tragic passing. We ask that everyone please keep Jordyn and her family in your thoughts and prayers," the team said.

A GiveForward page was setup to gather donations to help the family. A family friend said the money will be used at the family discretion-- either to help with the funeral or as a donation to charity. The Engler family is asking for privacy during their time of grief.

The coach of the Fierce All Stars cheerleading team released a statement  Sunday afternoon:

Jordyn was an exceptionally hard working athlete. She was loved by her teammates and coaches. Jordyn was entering her second year with our competitive cheer program. Her smile brightened the stage when she competed and you could tell, she was a performer!

Our hearts goes out to her family, friends and teammates during this difficult time.

Kelly Davis
Fierce All Stars