The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have suspended the underwater search for the 11-year-old Ottawa boy who did not resurface when a boat capsized last Saturday. The search above the water on the St. Lawrence River near Rockport, about 50 kilometres east of Kingston, continues.
“We will continue to evaluate and reassess our search efforts with changing conditions along the St. Lawrence. We remain committed to finding this young boy so we can provide his family and the community with a resolution,” Leeds County OPP detachment commander Mike Francis said.
Marine, ground, and air units continue to search grids and patrols along the river in the Rockport area.
On Saturday, Sept. 1, Leeds County OPP responded to a call of five people being thrown into the water when their boat capsized.
One adult and four children were involved in the incident. The man and three of the children were rescued and taken to hospital. One of the children, an 11-year-old boy, did not resurface and is still being searched for.
The parents of the missing boy, who wish to remain anonymous, issued a statement thanking first responders and volunteers who have helped in the search for their child along with expressing their sorrow at the loss of their son.
“His youthful, positive energy and zest for life make this tragedy all the more unfair and felt so deeply by so many,” said the boy’s parents in a written statement.
“We are not yet ready to speak of him posthumously as we enter day 7 of our search. We are also not ready to release our names at least until he’s found. We ask that our privacy be respected at this time.”
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A salvage crew recovered the boat and brought it to shore by mid-afternoon Friday, allowing police to begin examining the structural and mechanical integrity of the boat. “They will examine the boat and do what they need to do in order to assist with this part of the investigation, figure out the cause,” said Barr.
Police say there is no set date to end the search for the boy, adding that they are constantly assessing the situation and information that they have.
While the cause of the accident is still unknown, it has been reported that the boy was not wearing a life-jacket at the time.
OPP say the continued support of multiple departments from both sides of the border as well as the public is appreciated.
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