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Vancouver Island University (VIU) has confirmed that one of their students was killed following an incident at Westwood Lake earlier this week.
The Nanaimo RCMP confirmed in a statement to NowMedia that the victim was a male student. He was unconscious when he was pulled from Westwood Lake at around 8 pm on Wednesday, and has since died.
Police said the victim had been swimming with friends and was attempting to swim back to the dock, located at second beach. For unknown reasons, he slipped under the water and did not surface.
Two swimmers found him and managed to pull him to shore and began CPR. Emergency crews later took over and this continued for upwards of 30 mins.
A pulse was obtained, at which time the man was transported to the Nanaimo hospital. Sadly, at about 5 am he was pronounced deceased.
The file has been turned over to the BC Coroner's Service and the deceased family has been notified.
Dr. Deborah Saucier, President and Vice Chancellor, released a statement on the tragic incident.
“On behalf of the university, I want to offer my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the student’s family, loved ones, their friends here at Vancouver Island University and abroad, and to everyone that knew and loved them,” said Saucier.
“Our community shares your grief, and you are in our thoughts. As a parent and university president, I am heart-broken for your loss.”
VIU added that it is providing support and assistance for the student’s friends who were with the student when the incident happened.
The student’s family is overseas, and have been contacted.
“This is an immense tragedy for our community. I encourage our students and employees to check in on each other and to access the in-person counselling supports we have made available on campus as well as the virtual and on-line counselling supports for students and employees,” Saucier said.
“I ask everyone in our VIU community and in Nanaimo to fill our hearts with compassion for the student’s family and friends and keep them close in your thoughts at this terrible time.”