Granger Smith Recounts The Evening Of His Son’s Drowning: ‘I Was 15 Feet From The Gate’

Three weeks after the tragic and untimely death of his 3-year-old son, Granger Smith is opening up about the series…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

June 27, 2019


3:13 pm

Share on:

Three weeks after the tragic and untimely death of his 3-year-old son, Granger Smith is opening up about the series of events that took place the evening of his son’s drowning accident.

In a video posted to the family’s YouTube channel, The Smiths, Granger talks candidly with fans about the family’s new normal and what life has been like since River’s passing. Admitting he wasn’t “too thrilled about turning on the camera,” the singer promised the family would remain open about their struggles.

“Part of me wants to pack up the family, find some secluded cabin in Colorado and disappear, and never be heard from again,” Smith admitted. “I don’t think that a lot of you would blame me if I did that. I don’t think it would be wrong if I did that. But when I started this Smith’s channel, YouTube channel… it took a long time to even decide to do that, but we did that in an effort to share our lives with you guys, so that we could try to be positive role models. It would also challenge us, to keep each other accountable for being positive role models. I think I feel compelled to keep that going.”

He then promised to keep fans updated in an effort to help others learn how to deal with loss.

As he continued to drive to his Yee Yee Farm, just as he did with little River “so many times,” Granger held nothing back as he discussed the moments leading up to River’s drowning.

“The night of the accident I was with all three kids,” he recalled. “We were all in the backyard. London and I were playing gymnastics, the boys were playing water gun fight. The events that happened, and this is really important to understand for everyone, especially parents, this whole thing took roughly 30 seconds.”

He then touched on water safety explaining, “We have a pool gate. We have a fence that we built. As soon as we moved into this house we built a fence, with a child lock on the gate. We take that very seriously.”

Smith shared that what happened next was unthinkable.

“As many times as I’ve gone through this sequence of events in my head, which has been a million, as many times as I’ve gone through these, there’s a series of scenarios that happened that were virtually impossible, and River found a way to accomplish the impossible several times.”

As Granger and Amber continue to cope with River’s loss, they hope their story will help other parents, especially when it comes to water and pool safety.

“The other important thing to know, and I’ll talk about this more in the months and years to come, is how quiet this whole thing happened,” he explained. “There was silence. I was 15 feet from the gate, which is something that will haunt me the rest of my life. I was 15 feet from that water, doing gymnastics.”

“A, him getting in there is an almost impossible feat, and B, him silently getting into the water is beyond any of us understanding,” he continued. “The other thing is, he was a swimmer, and we swam every day. He was around that pool every single day of the long Texas summer. There’s things to account for, when you talk about a kid that can swim. You have to account for wearing a diaper, which adds another 10 pounds to the body. You have to account for shoes. If you can’t learn how to swim with shoes and with a full diaper, that’s a whole different deal.”

Granger’s video clip comes just days after he and his wife presented a check for over $218,000 to Dell Children’s Medical Center in their late son’s honor. Moving forward, the couple plans to continue to do good deeds and spread positivity in their son’s memory.

Before the close of the video slip, Granger explained his reason for behind so open and honest and shared some words of advice with everyone watching.

“The reason I’m telling you all this is partly because it feels good to talk about it…to hit this point home that you’ve gotta love those around you today. Right now, because the impossible does happen, and the impossible scenarios can happen, and we just don’t know.”
Share on:

Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.