Virginia firefighter, mother of two dies while teaching swift water rescue course

Alicia Monahan 'suffered a catastrophic accident' while teaching the rescue course, officials said

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A Virginia firefighter and mother of two boys died on Saturday when she "suffered a catastrophic accident" during a swift water rescue training, according to officials. 

Alicia Monahan, 41, was instructing the course in the North Carolina mountains when she tragically passed away. It wasn't immediately clear how the accident happened. 

Monahan was an 11-year veteran of the Chesterfield County Fire Department and leaves behind her fiancée and two sons. 

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"Our hearts and prayers go out to Alicia’s family, friends, and co-workers during this very difficult time," the fire department said Saturday. 

Alicia Monahan, 41, died while instructing a swift water training course in North Carolina on Saturday. 

Alicia Monahan, 41, died while instructing a swift water training course in North Carolina on Saturday.  (Chesterfield County Fire and EMS )

Swift water rescue is a specialized discipline that trains rescuers to navigate situations in natural bodies of water and flood environments, according to the National Parks Service

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"Alicia was more than a teammate she was also a personal friend to many of us and this loss is unimaginable," the Virginia Search and Rescue Dog Association said. 

"Alicia was a wonderful, caring person… a beautiful, bright light went out today and our hearts are broken."