03/07/2014 09:37 EST | Updated 05/07/2014 05:59 EDT

Boy who drowned in North Vancouver creek had previous near-drowning

A six-year-old boy who died after being pulled from Taylor Creek in North Vancouver Thursday afternoon had recovered from a previous near-drowning incident, CBC News has learned.

The boy and his family have not been publicly identified by police, but the child was described by a family friend as a curious boy who loved exploring things.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Richard De Jong said the incident was a terrible tragedy and no foul play is suspected.

"This is a most tragic incident that affects all of us," said De Jong.

"It speaks to just the most devastating event that could happen to a parent, is to lose a six-year-old boy in an incident like this in a creek at a time when the creeks are running very swift, they're running very high and in spite of all the efforts that took place, he did die."

The area were the boy fell into the fast-running creek was not fenced off, unlike other sections of the creek.

Police responded to frantic call

The incident began on Thursday afternoon when North Vancouver RCMP received a frantic call from a mother who lives on Bowron Court, reporting that her boy had gone missing from where he was playing, just before 2 p.m. PT. 

"Our members attended the scene and quickly learned where the child was playing and did a search of the area," said Sgt. Darrin Ramey.

"A witness who was walking her dog located the child in the creek face down."

Ramey says two police officers were right beside the woman and jumped into the stream in water up to their necks.

They pulled the boy out and began performing CPR.

The ambulance showed up one minute later but, Ramey says, it was impossible to say how long the boy was in the water. The boy was immediately airlifted to Children's Hospital, but he did not survive.

Ramey said the creek was about three metres wide and running fast with all the recent rainfall. The water had risen to the top of the creek's banks and was a metre and a half deep at the place where the boy was found.