Double-amputee Army veteran dies while paddle boarding

An Army veteran and double amputee died Wednesday while paddle boarding in the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, Md., authorities said.

The man was identified as Cody Iorns, 25, of Washington D.C. He was paddle boarding in the water off Tolly Point Wednesday evening.

“We are at a loss for words,” Capital SUP Annapolis, a paddle boarding business, wrote on Facebook. “He was our brother. He was an inspiration to everyone on and off the water."

Iorns was with three other paddle boarders when one member of the group saw him face down in the water behind them, a Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman told the Capital Gazette. The group performed CPR as one paddle boarder went ashore for help.

The veteran was picked up in the water by an Anne Arundel County Fire Department boat and pronounced dead at a hospital, officials said.

Officials said Iorns suffered undetermined medical distress while on the water and an autopsy was conducted Thursday to determine the cause of death. He was wearing an inflatable life jacket while paddle boarding, but it did not inflate.

Iorns served in the Army as a field medic before losing both arms in a motorcycle accident, the Washington Post reported. According to the paper, Iorns was an avid paddle boarder who often competed in events and was profiled by National Geographic.

He told National Geographic that the challenges of learning standup paddle boarding without arms involved a lot of failing, but said there’s “nothing I wouldn’t rather do.”

“I know that I feel so much better when I’m out, trying to give something my 100 percent,” Iorns said.