Ontario student's body recovered after weekend kayaking incident
Published Tuesday, February 23, 2016 10:30PM EST
Ontario Provincial Police say they have recovered the body of a male university student after a kayaking incident in a river west of Toronto over the weekend. His girlfriend's body was found on Sunday.
The body of Zach Sutherland, 21, a fourth-year commerce student at the University of Guelph, was found at about 12 p.m. Tuesday, according to the OPP.
Authorities had been searching for Sutherland for three days after two empty kayaks were found lodged in ice in the Credit River near Terra Cotta, about 65 kilometres northwest of Toronto, in the Town of Caledon on Sunday.
Officers searched the area on Sunday and found the body of Kaya Firth, Sutherland's girlfriend and a fourth-year English student at the University of Guelph.
Sutherland's body was found nearby on Tuesday, and the OPP say they're trying to figure out the exact circumstances surrounding their deaths.
"Through the investigation we're trying to piece together a timeline as to what has happened, but there's no witnesses that viewed the actual accident that we're aware of," an OPP officer told CTV Kitchener.
A K-9 team, patrol officers, OPP Aviation Services and dive crews had previously been involved in the search for Sutherland.
Sutherland's neighbour said his family had recently moved to Terra Cotta and the community was in mourning.
"It just rips you apart because you know it is bad enough knowing what's happened, and then to see the kayaks in the river so close to his home," she said.
"It is very, very sad."
Their classmates at the University of Guelph also expressed their anguish over their fellow students' deaths.
"It is crazy because one day they're at school -- just like you -- and then the next day … it is just a tragedy. It is horrible," said one student.
The Ontario, the University of Guelph's independent newspaper where Firth was a sports and health editor, also released a statement expressing its condolences.
"(Firth's) passion and her dedication were immediately evident in the way she conducted herself both inside and outside of the office," said the statement.
"Kaya's adventurous spirit, her willingness to learn and her profound kindness characterized her time in our office, and it will not be forgotten."