Ottawa

Teen presumed dead after jumping off Prince of Wales Bridge

A 14-year-old boy is missing and presumed to have drowned after he jumped into the water off the Prince of Wales Bridge Friday night and didn’t resurface, police say.

14-year-old had been on the bridge with friends Friday night, police say

Young people had gathered on the roughly 140-year-old bridge on Friday evening, Ottawa police said. The 14-year-old jumped into the Ottawa River but didn't resurface. (Boris Proulx/Radio-Canada )

A 14-year-old boy is missing and presumed dead after he jumped into the water off the Prince of Wales Bridge Friday night and didn't resurface, Ottawa police say.

Young people had gathered on the roughly 140-year-old bridge, which is west of the capital's downtown and crosses over the Ottawa River into Quebec, and some were jumping into the river below, police said.

Police responded to calls about the possible drowning at approximately 9:20 p.m.

Members of police and fire services from both Ottawa and Gatineau searched for the boy on the ground, in the river and by air.

At around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Ottawa police told Radio-Canada they were now presuming the boy had drowned and had shifted their focus from rescuing him to searching for his body.

The Prince of Wales Bridge across the Ottawa River is seen here in 2016, before gates were put up to block people from accessing it. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

'An unsafe place to be'

According to the Ottawa Police Service, the blocked-off, out-of-use bridge is sometimes accessed through holes in the fencing. 

"It's an unsafe place to be. It's an unsafe walkway," said Ottawa Police Service Insp. François D'Aoust.

"We absolutely do not recommend anyone climb on or attend the Prince of Wales Bridge. If an individual would fall into the river, the current is very very fast."

D'Aoust said late Saturday afternoon that search teams would continue combing the river east of the bridge, from Rideau Falls to the Blair Road boat launch, until they were "satisfied that they'd searched the entire river."

The incident remains under investigation, The boy's parents and friends are being assisted by Ottawa police's crisis unit counsellors. 

With files from Radio-Canada's Boris Proulx

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