Scarborough man drowned in Grotto crash last week

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Police identified the man who died at the Bruce Peninsula Cave on October 20.

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Rahul Makhija, 23, of Scarborough, died after emergency responders were called around 4:15 p.m. at the popular tourist attraction in Bruce Peninsula National Park, Gray Bruce OPP said.

Dr George Harpur, a coroner who examined the body, said in an interview that the victim drowned. Although he has not completed his investigation, nothing remains to be learned that would alter his conclusion as to cause of death, Harpur said.

“They were just doing business as usual, jumping off the cliff. And unfortunately the water is quite cold, ”he said.

“When you go into very cold water there is an involuntary gasp that tends to occur and if you don’t anticipate it there is a good chance that you gasped at the wrong time and that you were taking in water, which may be what happened in this Case. “

Harpur said he will never really know why the man drowned.

“I don’t know what his swimming skills were, but he really wasn’t equipped to swim,” Harpur said. “They were within 10 meters of shallow areas that they could land on quite easily. “

The man who drowned did not stay in the water for long. Harpur estimated the water temperature to be 15 or 16 degrees Celsius, which he called “cold.” The victim’s companions quickly got help for him, Harpur said.

When asked if there was a lesson to be learned, Harpur replied, “Watch out for the warning signs. There are warning signs and prohibitions all over this area for not jumping off a cliff. There have been several tragedies involving people who jumped off the cliff, he noted.

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Gray Bruce OPP Const. Nick Wilson said last week that emergency responders were told there was a distressed victim in the water. The victim was pulled out of the water by another man, who subsequently required medical attention himself and was later released.

Paramedics nearby assisted with resuscitation efforts until Bruce County paramedics could reach the cave, Steve Schaus, director of Bruce County paramedics, told the newspaper.

Parks Canada released a statement Wednesday evening expressing its sadness at the death of the park visitor.

“Bruce Peninsula National Park and Parks Canada strive to educate visitors about the dangers of Georgian Bay waters and prevent tragedies from happening,” but it is up to visitors to make informed decisions. water safety, the press release said.

There are signs on site, water safety messages can be found in the visitor safety section of the park website, in visitor guides printed and shared by park staff. There are 500,000 visitors a year to the park, usually coming to explore the cave.

Park staff are working with local emergency response organizations and a review of this incident will be undertaken, the statement said.

“It provides an opportunity to discuss the timeline of events, associated responses and lessons learned. In addition, Parks Canada will directly contact the Ontario Provincial Police, who conducted the inquest, and the Coroner to better understand any specific causal factors and take action to further improve visitor safety, ”the signed statement reads. by Acting Park Superintendent Ethan. Meleg.

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