Olivia Knighton, the 11-year-old daughter of former MSL goalkeeper Brad Knighton, died in a boat accident near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on July 19.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resource issued a statement regarding the tragic accident which is still under investigation.
“Initial information indicates that a 23-foot boat carrying 12 people was traveling on the Intracoastal Waterway in Little River.”
“The boat was rocked by a large wake caused by another boat, resulting in nine of the 12 occupants going overboard,” one of which was an 11-year-old girl who was “struck by a propeller and later died of her injuries.”
“Nobody else was injured in the incident,” the statement continued.
They are still trying to piece together what truly happened.
Our officers are investigating a fatal boating accident that happened Wednesday in Horry County.
Initial information indicates that a 23-foot boat carrying 12 people was traveling on the Intracoastal Waterway in Little River. (1 of 3) pic.twitter.com/qxPhM2Cxaw
— S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources (@SCDNR) July 20, 2023
Brad Knighton posted a brief statement on social media, saying, “There are no words to express the depth of our profound grief and sorrow in this moment.”
“Our family is still in shock at the sudden and tragic loss of our beautiful and brilliant daughter, Olivia, to an unfortunate boating accident yesterday,” he continued. “We are all still in disbelief that her bright and pure light was taken away from us so suddenly.”
Knighton retired in January 2023 after 16 seasons, 12 of which he spent playing for the New England Revolution.
“Olivia loved soccer and the Revolution with all of her heart,” he added. “Our family always felt your support behind us during my career. We will need you and your prayers with us now more than ever.”
New England Revolution also displayed a photo of Olivia Knighton on the jumbotron during their match to honor her life. “Olivia was a bright and shining light who was a beloved presence around the Revolution throughout her entire life, always bringing a warm smile and laugh to Gillette Stadium and our training facility when she would visit,” the team wrote.
Following his retirement, Knighton posted a heartfelt message thanking his family for their support throughout his very successful career during which he ranked high on the club’s all-time leaderboard for goals against average, save percentage, and winning percentage in 52 matches.
“To my children Olivia, Owen, and Brooks, I’m so glad you have been able to be a part of this journey. Knowing you were standing there and cheering me on every day gave me the strength and belief to reach a potential I never knew was there,” he wrote.
Rest in peace, Olivia.
Our hearts go out to the grieving family.
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Love and Peace