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ONTARIO: 14 students rescued following canoe mishap on Lake Simcoe

It's the second incident this summer involving the Youth Leadership Camps of Canada
2018-06-21 OPP marine patrol 4

It was deja vu all over again Thursday for students from the Youth Leadership Camps of Canada (YLCC).

Just after noon Thursday, a canoe carrying 14 people from the YLCC was paddling on Lake Simcoe from McCrae Provincial Park. As the weather began to worsen, the canoe took on water and eventually sunk. 

Officers from the Orillia OPP, the Orillia Fire Department and Ramara Fire attended the scene on the water and removed the students from the water, says a news release from the Orillia OPP. The County of Simcoe Paramedic Services (CSPS) also attended as a precaution to assess the youth.

All students and the counsellor were wearing life jackets at the time of the incident.

This is the second eerily similar incident this season involving students from the camp.

On May 4, students and staff were caught off guard by a wind storm while paddling in a shallow area of Lake Simcoe.

That incident involved high school students from Windsor. Ten students had to be rescued from the bay at Eight Mile Point.

The three students who were rescued by helicopter were in the water for eight minutes. They were flown to Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie and were back at camp within two hours. They suffered mild hypothermia.

The other seven were picked up by police boats and checked by paramedics on the shore, though none required hospitalization.

That day, four canoes tipped, sending the teens into the frigid lake, but they were never in a situation where they couldn’t touch the bottom of the lake, Stu Saunders, the owner and director of YLCC, located on Moon Drive, just outside of Orillia, told OrilliaMatters after that May incident.

All of the students were wearing life jackets and had passed swim tests — a requirement if they are to get in a canoe, Saunders noted.

The Orillia OPP Marine Unit would like to remind people who use small water craft such as kayaks, canoes, paddle boards or other small vessels to wear their life jackets and to check the weather warnings before heading out on the water. 

Although weather is somewhat unpredictable often times there are weather warnings and water goers should heed these warnings for safety reasons. If you encounter bad weather while on the water get to the nearest land mass and wait out the storm.