Body of 14-year-old boy pulled from Lake Ontario near Ashbridges Bay

A 14-year-old boy has died while he went swimming at Woodbine Beach Sunday evening. Experts are warning the public about the conditions in Lake Ontario. Nick Westoll has more.

By Patricia D'Cunha

Toronto police say they have recovered the body of a 14-year-old boy who went missing after going into the water near Ashbridges Bay over the weekend.

Emergency crews were called to Woodbine Beach in the city’s east end around 6 p.m. on Sunday.

In an update on Monday, Acting Duty Insp. Dan Pravica said the teen was in the water with a friend when they started having trouble in the water.

One person was able to swim to shore and alert a passerby, who jumped into the water and tried to rescue the teen but was not able to find him. The citizen then called 911.

Paramedics said they transported a youth to hospital with minor injuries and also treated and released an adult male on the scene.

Crews searched the water through the night and into the morning, but in an update on Monday said his body was found around 9 a.m.

Pravica said the teen’s body was located not too far from where they initially went into the water, at the western point of the beach. He said the 14-year-old was wearing shorts at the time of the incident but doesn’t believe he was wearing a life jacket.

It is not clear what caused the distress in the water and for how long the two friends had been swimming.

“In the area where they were swimming, I’ve been told there is undertow there, that it is a steep drop off. There could be a combination of factors, I’m not sure how capable he was at swimming or not,” Pravica said.

Police are reminding the public about water safety amid the spring season and to be mindful of the water temperature.

Risks of swimming in cold waters

Stephanie Bakalar, a spokesperson with Lifesaving Society, said the water temperature in Lake Ontario right now is too cold for anyone to attempt a swim.

“What happens when you enter cold water is your body actually goes into a shock response where it becomes very difficult for you to breathe. You’re also going to lose dexterity, your ability to move your limbs, your ability to swim. So even as a very strong swimmer, you will be rendered unable to swim very quickly given the whole temperatures.”

Bakalar said even if you feel you are a confident swimmer, it is not advisable for anyone to be in the water right now.

“In water temperatures that we’re seeing right now across Ontario, no one is going to be able to swim in these temperatures for a prolonged period. It is so cold right now and a lot of places ice has just come off the lakes. It’s very chilly and it’s just not appropriate weather for anyone to be trying to swim.”

She said while there are paddlers and kayakers eager to get out on the water, it is vital they dress appropriately, have the right safety equipment, wear a lifejacket, and have their whistle signalling devices ready.

“Be prepared. It is far too cold right now.”

She said it is always important to wear a life jacket no matter what the temperature of the water is.

Click here for water safety tips.

With files from Meredith Bond, Lucas Casaletto and Nick Westoll of CityNews

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