NEWS

Jeremiah Perry, 15, Drowns During School Trip To Provincial Park

Students went to the park as part of a summer school outdoor education program.

07/05/2017 09:10 EDT | Updated 07/05/2017 20:32 EDT

TORONTO — The body of a 15-year-old boy was pulled out of 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.

Yarmel said police would not be identifying the teen, but his father identified him as Jeremiah Perry in an interview with a Toronto TV station earlier in the day.

The boy had been on a summer school outdoor educational program trip with about 37 other students to Algonquin Park since Sunday and was due to return the following Friday, said Ryan Bird, a spokesman for the Toronto District School Board. 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 contacted and began a search and recover mission on Tuesday, Bird said.

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.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters
Pog Lake in Algonquin Park

Toronto District School Board spokeswoman Shari Schwartz-Maltz said that there would have been three lifeguards watching the boy and the 22 other students who had been swimming in Big Trout Lake when he disappeared underwater. All students on the trip were also required to pass a swimming test.

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

The boy's father, Joshua Anderson, said that he thought the school would have their children's safety under control.

"That was the least on our minds thinking about the safety because we know the school is supposed to have proper supervision, proper protocol, everything in place,'' he told CP24.

Anderson said his 17-year-old son was on the school camping trip.

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