A 19-year-old man died at a Manitoba provincial park beach on the weekend.
The man, from the Rural Municipality of Morris, was swimming at St. Malo Provincial Park on Saturday afternoon when he came under distress, RCMP said.
"The male was removed from the water and was transported to hospital where he was pronounced deceased," an RCMP news release stated.
The name of the man is not being released to the public by the RCMP, but a team official with the Winkler Flyers hockey club identified the man as Calvin Dueck.
Dueck, the son of RM of Morris Coun. Merv Dueck, was a prospect for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League team.
"A tragedy, and I mean it's a shock. You don't expect something like this," said Dan Giesbrecht, the president of the Flyers.
"He'll definitely be missed. I can't imagine the shock to his parents and his close friends."
Giesbrecht, who also coached Dueck on the Altona Bisons baseball team, said the young man was a humble and gifted athlete.
"He went about it in a very humble manner [and] although he was quite gifted he was never boisterous about his ability. It was just a great, great honour to have coached him."
No lifegaurds on duty
St. Malo does not have life guards or beach safety officers on duty.
“We have to give, first of all, condolences to the family. [It’s a] terrible, terrible tragic loss. It must be terribly difficult for the family, and we wish them strength,” said Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh.
Mackintosh said there are beach safety officers at Manitoba’s three busiest beaches: Grand Beach, Winnipeg Beach and Birds Hill.
He said Manitoba has 83 beaches and safety officers can’t be placed at all of them.
Instead, he said, other efforts are made to ensure safety. Last summer, a life-jacket loaner program was implemented at the beach.
Provincial officials said the beach also has other safety measures like signage, beach safety brochures, buoy lines and risk management planning.
“There should be some people supervising around here,” said Corynne Simard who visited the beach on Monday.
Visitor Lisa Baldwin agreed.
“As a mom of young kinds, any time you can add added safety, for sure it adds added comfort,” said Baldwin.
St. Malo has been the site of two drownings in recent years, but it is not yet known if Calvin Dueck drowned.
About 20 people per year die from drowning in Manitoba, according to Sarah Dyck of the Lifesaving Society of Manitoba.
Both the RCMP and provincial officials are now investigating the teen’s death.
Provincial officials said the outcome of those two investigations will determine what extra resources are needed at St. Malo’s beach.
St. Malo Provincial Park is about 60 kilometres south of Winnipeg.