Columbia University student dies during kayaking trip on Potomac River

A Columbia University student was killed after she became trapped under a rock while kayaking in the Potomac River over the weekend.

Emergency responders were called to the Little Falls part of the river around Sunday afternoon near the border between D.C. and Montgomery County.

Ella Mills was part of a group of about two dozen people from Columbia University who were on a boating trip when the accident happened.

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Woman kayaker killed after being trapped under rock during boating trip in Potomac River (Pete Piringer / @mcfrsPIO)

Officials say Mills was pinned under the rock by river hydraulics. Others tried to help her before emergency crews arrived but were unsuccessful.

Columbia University's President Minouche Shafik released a letter Monday confirming her death. 

"As you may know, Ella Mills, a student of ours at Columbia’s School of General Studies, died tragically in a kayaking accident on a trip with the Columbia University Whitewater Kayaking Club," the letter reads. "Words cannot express how heartbroken I feel for her family, her friends, her loved ones, and those students from the University who were with her on this trip."

Lisa Rosen-Metsch, a dean and professor at Columbia, sent an additional letter to General Studies students. 

"Originally from Dublin, Ella was just beginning her journey at Columbia University as a third-year student in our Dual BA Program with Trinity College Dublin. She arrived in New York earlier this month to begin her studies at Columbia, having completed her English Studies coursework in Dublin. Ella had a love for learning, was intellectually curious, and passionate about literature—eager to soak in new ways of looking at literature and viewing the world as a literary scholar," Rosen-Metsch wrote. "She was an active member of the Trinity College Dublin community as part of the Trinity College Dublin drama society, the DU Players, the Trinity College Dublin Tennis Club, and the Philosophical Society, among many others. She is survived by her loving parents, brother, and sister. Our thoughts and compassion are with them at this very difficult time."

The investigation is still ongoing.