Drowned student said he knew how to swim: principal
Published Monday, July 19, 2010 5:57PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 11:14PM PDT
A tight-knit North Vancouver international school is reeling after the drowning death of one of their own over the weekend.
Bodwell High School principal Stephen Smith says the small private school will check whether anything could have been done to prevent the death of 17-year-old Edward Sun while on a school trip to Alice Lake, near Squamish.
"Words can't express how we feel," said Smith. "We're going to be looking closely at this. Was there anything that went amiss or was neglected? We'll be looking closely."
Sun was an honour roll student, had a passion for art, and was a quick study learning English, said Smith. The teen had immigrated to Canada from China with his mother only months ago, said Smith.
When asked by school officials, the teen said he could swim, Smith said, and so he was allowed to pair with another boy and swim out to the raft in the middle of the lake.
"He was a competent enough swimmer to get to the raft. He didn't make it back which was the tragic thing," said Bodwell High School Principal Stephen Smith.
Guillermo Lozano, a house captain at the private boarding school, was at the lake when the accident happened.
"I heard people shouting and screaming. So I went to the lake and there were some of my friends taking him out of the lake," Lozano said.
Another student performed CPR, and Sun was briefly revived. He was airlifted to B.C. Children's Hospital, but he died early Sunday morning with his mother at his side.
"It was the first time I've ever seen something like that. I was pretty upset, pretty shocked I have to say. I'm just really, really upset for their family," said Lozano.
The tragedy struck on the first day of National Drowning Prevention Week, and just days after the release of a report by the Lifesaving Society that suggests new Canadians are at a higher risk of drowning when swimming or boating.
"Only four per cent of new Canadians said they were able to swim, compared to 19 per cent of those born in Canada," Dale Miller, executive director of the Lifesaving Society told ctvbc.ca.
"It shows that swimming skills are important to drowning prevention, and that new Canadians are over four times more likely to drown."
The study also suggests 79 per cent of new Canadians plan to be in or around water this summer.
The society's website already offers water safety tips in 33 different languages, but Miller said they will be sending additional information to all international schools in the province and "ensuring that they're doing everything possible to prevent drownings when they're on outings."
Drowning is the second most common cause of death in Canada, next to traffic accidents. In July and August, one person drowns every two days on average in B.C. alone.
"This is a peak period of drownings across the country," Miller said. "We're hoping to get the word out and see if we can get the numbers down in July and August."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward