Missing swimmer's body recovered from Ottawa River

Search crews have recovered the body of a man from London, Ont., who jumped off the Prince of Wales Bridge into the Ottawa River on Sunday, but didn’t resurface.

Man, 26, from London, Ont., had jumped off Prince of Wales Bridge on Sunday

Emergency crews were on Lemieux Island near the Prince of Wales Bridge on June 20, 2021, after a swimmer jumped off the bridge into the Ottawa River and failed to resurface. His body was recovered late Sunday night, Ottawa police confirmed. (Radio-Canada)

Search crews have recovered the body of a man who jumped off the Prince of Wales Bridge on Sunday but didn't resurface.

Ottawa police said the body of the 26-year-old man from London, Ont., was discovered late Sunday night. 

Paramedics said dispatchers got a 911 call shortly after 4 p.m. about a group of people jumping into the river from the old train bridge, which is west of the national capital's downtown and crosses the river into Quebec. 

One of the swimmers hit the water, surfaced momentarily, and then disappeared, said police.

Police marine units, the Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Fire Services and the Gatineau, Que., fire department were all involved in the search Sunday.

Ongoing safety concerns

This is the second death of a swimmer who had jumped off the bridge in less than a year.

14-year-old boy died after he jumped into the water from the bridge last summer.

For years the bridge has been a safety hazard, police say.

"That bridge has seen numerous tragedies," said Const. T.J. Jellinek with Ottawa police's marine unit. 

"We've worked really hard to really make it inaccessible to people yet unfortunately people still keep gaining access to the bridge."

He said the bridge and water may look safe and appealing as a swimming spot from the surface, but strong currents, proximity to a hydro dam, fluctuating water levels and rocks can make it a very dangerous area.

Crews in Gatineau, Que. worked to install orange safety fencing (left) across the Prince of Wales Bridge late Monday morning. Caution tape (right) had been hanging across the bridge earlier in the day. (Jérémie Bergeron/Radio-Canada)

While fences and barbed wire blocks access to the bridge from the Ottawa side, on the Gatineau, Que., side there was caution tape across the bridge Monday morning before crews were seen installing orange safety fencing.

The City of Ottawa plans to one day convert it into a multi-use pathway across the river.

With files from Radio-Canada's Jérémie Bergeron

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