Coun. Cynthia Downey of Stephenville Crossing said the death of a local teenager is being felt in the municipality and the whole area because of family connections and friends in nearby communities.
“Any time you lose someone in a small community like ours, it’s sadly felt because pretty well everyone knows everyone else and when it’s someone so young, it’s even more serious for family, relatives and friends,” she said.
Downey said in particular it seems to hurt even more when things happen at this time of year, just when people are getting out and about doing activities after a long winter.
The body of the 17-year-old was recovered from Barachois Pond in Barachois Pond Provincial Park late Wednesday night after he went under the water earlier in the evening while fishing from shore.
Cpl. John Butler of the Bay St. George RCMP said a report was received from a park warden at 7:26 p.m. that a youth could not be located.
He was last been seen in the water about 25 feet from shore.
Police attended and learned that the teenager had been fishing from shore when his line became hooked up on something in the water and he decided to swim out and try to free the line.
After several minutes in the water, police said the teen began to exhibit signs of being in distress and efforts by a couple of friends and an adult who were with him fishing were unsuccessful in reaching him.
Butler said the water in the pond is extremely cold and the depth of the pond is a couple of feet deeper than what it normally is in the summer due to a run off of water from snow still melting in the nearby hills, including Erin Mountain.
RCMP members, provincial park wardens, along with members of Barachois Ground Search and Rescue team and members of the Marine Institute Safety and Emergency Rescue Training Center searched the water in boats using an underwater camera and at about 11 p.m., recovered the teenager’s body. An autopsy is pending.
Ken Morrissey, director of communications with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, said counseling services were in place on Thursday at Appalachia High School in St. George’s, where the youth was a student, and would be available again today.