Family members said Steven White and Blake Brainard "truly were the light of so many lives"
An 8-year-old boy and his stepfather died over the weekend when their jet ski collided with a barge on a Tennessee lake.
Steven White, 36, and the boy — identified in an obituary as Blake Brainard — struck a barge around 7:30 p.m. local time Saturday, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Barge company employees found White at the scene, but he did not survive, the agency said. At 1 a.m. on Sunday, their initial search for the boy ended without finding his body.
"On Sunday at 8 a.m., officials from TWRA, United States Coast Guard, and others resumed the search focusing their attention on the group of 13 barges involved in the accident," officials added. "TWRA investigators utilized a remote operated vehicle (ROV) to search under the barges and several cadaver dogs were used on the barges to attempt to identify a likely search location."
Blake's body was finally recovered around 6:40 p.m. Sunday, officials said. Both victims were wearing life jackets.
Notably, TWRA Boating Officer Clay Hetland told CBS affiliate WTVF that the deadly incident highlights the need to understand boating laws. Jet skis aren't allowed to be operated after sunset.
"Nighttime navigation in general is just a lot more difficult, depth perception is off," Hetland said. "Certain areas of rivers, certain areas of lakes — very dark."
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According to Blake's obituary, the 8-year-old was a student at Charlotte Middle School with a "sweet and kind soul." He was described as an avid athlete who played a number of sports.
The family said in a statement to ABC affiliate WKRN-TV that he "wanted everyone to feel special and included."
"He was the funniest, smartest, kindest little boy you could have ever met," they added, sharing that he was also "the all star catcher and the team captain for JT Warriors and Tennessee Elite Baseball teams."
White, known by loved ones as Aaron, was a district manager at Rural King and "enjoyed many things in life" like "hunting, fishing, and music," per his obituary. Above all, he loved spending time with his family, especially watching his boys play sports and traveling with Jordan, his life's love."
The family told WKRN-TV that the 36-year-old was the "best role model and dad to have ever [come] into his life."
"He was friends with everyone and loved by so many," they said in a statement. "If you ever met him, he was always smiling and [would] do anything to make someone else smile. He had the biggest heart ever."
"He loved all of us so much and we do not know what we will do without him and Blake," they added. "Aaron and Blake truly were the light of so many lives and they will be missed every day of our lives.”
According to the TWRA, Saturday's fatal accident brings the total number of boating-related fatalities in Tennessee this year to 22.
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