July 20, 2018 1:27 pm
Updated: July 23, 2018 4:08 pm

Beaconsfield teen’s drowning death being investigated by Coroner’s Office

The death of an 18-year-old kayaker in Beaconsfield is being investigated after he drowned in Lac Saint-Louis. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, the teen's drowning has safety concerns running high in the community.

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The circumstances surrounding the death of an 18-year-old man are under investigation by the Coroner’s Office after he drowned in Lac Saint-Louis Thursday.

The teenager fell into the water from his kayak, which he had rented from a subcontractor on the beach of Centennial Park in Beaconsfield. He was not wearing a lifejacket at the time.

READ MORE: Body found in Lac Saint-Louis in Beaconsfield

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Witnesses say he called for help when his kayak tipped early Thursday afternoon, but no one was able to reach him in time.

“We saw a guy, his kayak flipped over and he was yelling, ‘help,’” said Sarah Racine, who saw the scene unfold.

“He was screaming that for a long time and then he just stopped.”

After a joint search and rescue operation by police and firefighters that lasted hours, his body was pulled from the water late Thursday as his family waited on the shore.

The City of Beaconsfield issued a statement Friday, calling the teen’s death a tragedy.

“Each mortal accident is a tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family and loved ones,” said Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle.

The kayaker went missing early Thursday afternoon.

Elysia Bryan-Banes/Global News

The incident has also sparked calls for stricter laws that would force Quebecers to wear lifejackets on small boats and kayaks.

In Quebec, each person on board a vessel must have a lifejacket — but they are not obligated to wear it.

The Lifesaving Society reports that in nearly 80 per cent of boating deaths, the victims were not wearing lifejackets. Most drownings in Quebec occur during the hot summer months, particularly July and August.

READ MORE: Saint-Léonard community mourns after 6-year-old boy found in pool dies

“If we can say you don’t have any choice, you have to wear your lifejacket, we will see those numbers go down,” said Raynald Hawkins, director of the society.

The city said it plans to “await the formal conclusion of the [Coroner’s] inquest before providing further comments if necessary,” but is asking residents to be vigilant.

“On the water, an accident can happen quickly and its consequences can be tragic. Enjoy the beautiful Lake Saint-Louis safely by acting responsibly and by respecting safety regulations.”

— with files from Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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