Crews search for man who fell off boat in Lake Ontario

A search is underway in Lake Ontario for a missing man who fell off a boat in the waters off Scarborough Bluffs.

Man identified as Partheepan Subramaniam, 27, a DJ popular in Toronto's Tamil community

A missing man is believed to have fallen off this white-and-red boat now docked at Bluffers Park. Toronto police and fire officials say the man fell overboard in the waters off the Scarborough Bluffs. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

A search is underway in Lake Ontario for a missing man who fell off a boat on Sunday night in the waters off Scarborough Bluffs.

The man has been identified as Partheepan Subramaniam, 27, according to his uncle, Kandepan Suppih.

The Canadian Coast Guard has taken over the search, Toronto Fire Services said. A helicopter from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton is involved in the search on Monday.

Crews from Toronto Fire and the Toronto ​Police Marine Unit were called to Bluffers Park, at the foot of Scarborough Bluffs, near Brimley Road South and Kingston Road, for a report of a person overboard at about 9:45 p.m. on Sunday. 
The missing man has been identified as Partheepan Subramanian, 27, according to his uncle, Kandepan Suppih. He is known as DJ Brownsoul. (Facebook)

Toronto police said six people were on board the boat when the man fell into the water.

"He apparently fell overboard, they were unable to find him and they called 911," Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said Monday.

"Our marine unit responded and they are still on scene," she said. "It's quite an extensive search. It's a growing search. We actually deployed officers from other areas of the city to assist in searching the shoreline as well. Unfortunately, we have not had any luck in finding this young man and the search continues."

'Not a strong swimmer'

Family and friends went to Bluffers Park Marina early Monday as the search resumed.

Suppih told reporters that he brought Subramanian to Canada from Sri Lanka when he was 10. He said his nephew, who is known as Theepan, used to live with him. 

Suppih said Subramaniam is "not a strong swimmer" and would go out on the water with his friends. He said he did not know if his nephew was wearing a life jacket at the time.

He said Subramaniam is "like my son." 

Suppih described him as very smart, popular and well-known in the Tamil community as DJ Brownsoul.

"He's a good DJ," he said. "He was doing well."

Friends of Subramaniam knocked on Suppih's door at 1:30 a.m. on Monday to tell him the news that his nephew is missing after he fell off the boat. Suppih said he notified his brother in Sri Lanka.

"He loved me, always he called me and talked to me," he said. 
Toronto police talk to a group of people at Bluffers Park in Scarborough after a man fell off a boat on Sunday night. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

On Sunday night, Toronto Fire said its William Lyon Mackenzie fireboat searched the waters off the Scarborough Bluffs in Lake Ontario for about three hours.

At 12:35 a.m., the Canadian Coast Guard took over the search, which continued into the night.

"We didn't find him, and the coast guard cleared us and they continued the search and we went back to station," Toronto Fire Capt. Michael Westwood said early Monday.

'Far from shore'

"It was dark and they were using flashlights so we could see them."

The man fell off the boat "far from the shore," he added.

Neither police nor fire officials could say what happened before the man fell off the boat. 

Videos from the missing man's Instagram account show different views of Lake Ontario from the bow of a white-and-red boat. In the videos, the boat is moving quickly over the water.

One video shows the downtown skyline, while another shows the Bluffs in the background.

In one four-second clip, a young man in a red sweatshirt is looking into the camera from the boat.

A member of Toronto police marine unit stands in a boat at the base of Scarborough Bluffs on Monday. (Linda Ward/CBC)

With files from Linda Ward