UPDATE: 11-year-old Ottawa boy presumed drowned in St. Lawrence River after boat capsizes
Ontario Provincial Police and Prescott Coastguards are confirming a 11-year-old Ottawa boy is missing after a boat capsized near Rockport, Ont. just before 3:30 Saturday afternoon.
A heavy response could be seen along the waters of the St. Lawrence River around 4 p.m. Several different search and rescue teams were involved including ones from: OPP, CFB Trenton, Canadian Coast Guard, American coast guards, Leeds & Thousand Islands Fire Department, and RCMP. A Canadian Armed Forces Hercules aircraft and Griffon Helicopter searched the waters from the air.
Police say, in total, the cigarette-style boat was carrying five people. Four were rescued. The 11-year-old boy is still missing with the search resuming Sunday morning.
Sunday morning, teams were back on the water and in the air. “We have numerous officers searching the area. We have OPP diver team, OPP marine unit, helicopters,” says OPP Const. Sandra Barr.
How the boat capsized is under investigation, but officials say the main effort is to find the boy who failed to resurface. The Recovery Unit is now involved.
OPP say alcohol was not a factor but have not ruled out if speed was a factor- or if everyone on the boat was wearing a life jacket. “All those things will be part of the investigation,” says Barr.
The boy was in the area vacationing with family.
Boater Dirk Vanderwal saw the response Saturday, ‘we saw the Hercules and a few helicopters and so on and then word gets out threw social media that there was an accident.”
He says the tragedy has hit the close knit boating community in Rockport. “Anybody that boats around here is passionate about this region and wherever a tragedy like this happens it affects people, everybody goes to the dock and reflects.”
**Correction: OPP have retracted an earlier statement suggesting the boy is 13 years old**