‘Just a tragedy’: Foreign exchange student drowns at Thetis Lake

Rescue vehicles are pictured at Thetis Lake on Sept. 29, 2023.

First responders have confirmed an international high school student drowned at Thetis Lake on Friday afternoon.

The View Royal Fire Department says it responded to a call about a swimmer in distress around 4:30 p.m.

However, while first responders were enroute, the male student had already slipped underwater and had not resurfaced, firefighters say.

“Just a tragic, horrible event,” said View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst. “Just horrible, just a tragedy.”

Firefighters were able to recover the male student’s body shortly after 6 p.m.

His body was recovered at a depth of about 4.5 metres, roughly three metres from the shore, according to the fire department.

“This is a heartbreaking tragedy, a young man drowned just feet from the shore as his classmates witnessed it but couldn’t help him,” said Hurst.

“It was a difficult scene for all involved and our thoughts are with his family and classmates.”

Mounties and paramedics were also called to Thetis Lake on Friday afternoon.

The West Shore RCMP says it is investigating the incident, while the BC Coroners Service also conducts its own investigation into the matter.

Adam Chan

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