A 16-year-old boy who jumped in the water at Woodbine Beach to help rescue a mother and her son has been pronounced dead.
Emergency crews were called to the area, near Ashbridge’s Bay, at around 2:30 p.m. for reports of people “in distress” in the water.
Toronto police said a number of people jumped into the water as a mother and her son were calling out for help.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said five patients had to be rescued from the lake in the incident.
Three people, including the young boy who died, were taken to hospital from the scene, Toronto paramedics said. There has been no word on the condition of the other victims but paramedics said they are also in their teens.
While the patients were being transported to hospital, officers said they were still searching the water for another possible victim.
At the height of the search, seven fire crews, one fire boat and the coast guard were on scene to assist in the search efforts.
After about two hours of searching, police called off the rescue effort saying that everyone was accounted for.
“I think there might have been some confusion,” Toronto police spokesperson Gary Long told CP24. “People at the scene who were doing the investigating and the searching advised that everyone was accounted for.”
“I don’t know the circumstances as to why it happened. We had reports that they were swimming, that they slipped. I haven’t seen or heard of a boat in the area. At this point, we just don’t know.”
Const. David Hopkinson told CP24 only the “strongest of swimmers” should enter the water on the west side of the beach, which is where this incident took place.
“We have found that the water in the area of Woodbine Beach near the rocks has a very significant undertow and we are cautioning people not to swim in that area unless you are a very, very strong swimmer,” Hopkinson said.
“I believe incidents of this nature cause the mechanisms that we have for investigation and how we respond to tragedies, you know to maybe answer some of these questions. Of course it will be reviewed by the city and all the people involved once we are able to submit our report to the city.”