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Toronto student found dead after drowning in Algonquin Park

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jul 6th, 2017

The body of a 15-year-old boy was pulled from a lake almost a day after he disappeared underwater while swimming on a school-run camping trip in Algonquin Park, Ontario Provincial Police said.

Divers with the force’s underwater rescue unit found his body just before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in Big Trout Lake, Const. Catherine Yarmel told reporters.

“It’s with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Jeremiah Perry,” said John Malloy, director of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

“Despite holding out hope that the … C.W. Jefferys CI student would be found safe, police have now confirmed that they have located his body after an extensive search in Algonquin Park — the victim of an apparent drowning.

“Our thoughts are with Jeremiah’s family and friends during this tremendously difficult time.”

Jeremiah had been on a summer school outdoor educational program trip with 32 other students to Algonquin Park since Sunday and was due to return the following Friday. He had been swimming with 22 other students when he disappeared underwater in Big Trout Lake Tuesday evening and did not resurface.

Provincial police were called and began a search and recover mission on Tuesday.

By Wednesday, this included the use of underwater search-and-recovery divers, an emergency response team and a float plane from the Ministry of Natural Resources to evacuate the remaining students from the park. But the float plane suffered an unspecified mechanical issue, police said, and was disabled.

TDSB spokeswoman Shari Schwartz-Maltz said there would have been three lifeguards watching Jeremiah and the other students who had been swimming. All students on the trip were also required to pass a swimming test.

The school board will have counsellors meet with students and staff who were on the trip.

Malloy said the program has been operating for several years with “an excellent safety record.” But he added staff would be reviewing safety procedures and the events that led to Jeremiah’s death.


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