Saskatoon

'Nolan just didn't come up': Mom speaking out after teen son dies holding breath underwater in hotel pool

Nolan Royer jumped out of airplanes. He white-water kayaked and climbed mountains. And on Friday night, according to his mom, he drowned in a children's pool in a Saskatoon hotel.

Woman says son Nolan Royer, 17, drowned playing in children's pool at Saskatoon hotel

Jodie Lonsberry says her son Nolan Royer, 17, was an athlete and an adventurer. (Nolan Royer/Facebook)

Nolan Royer jumped out of airplanes. He white-water kayaked and climbed mountains. And on Friday night, according to his mom, he drowned in a children's pool in a Saskatoon hotel.

Jodie Lonsberry is still trying to process how her 17-year-old athlete son could have died playing a game to see who could stay underwater the longest. 

It doesn't matter how good of a swimmer or how athletic you are or your age or whatever, it can happen in a kiddie pool.- Jodie Lonsberry, Nolan Royer's mom

She said he and his siblings were in the hotel pool with friends during a staycation at the the Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon Hotel.

"And then Nolan just didn't come up," said Lonsberry.

"And by the time people realized something was wrong, it was too late."

​Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon Hotel general manager Dale Grant said it was a tragedy.

"We had a guest, a young man that drowned in our swimming pool on Friday night," said Grant.

Lonsberry said paramedics tried frantically to save Royer and they briefly revived his heartbeat. But by morning, the young man had died.

"He was 17, almost 18, and he died in a kids' pool playing a game that he played over and over and over again," she said.

"And never in my wildest imagination would I have thought something like this could ever happen."

Nolan Royer's mom Jodie Lonsberry says she is still trying to understand how her 17-year-old son, an adventure-seeker, could have died holding his breath as a game in a hotel pool. (Submitted)

He was 'that kid' 

Lonsberry said her son was "that kid," a high-end athlete and a good teen who never gave his parents any trouble. He ran marathons and biathlon, and he was an army cadet who was accepted into an elite parachuting course. Royer had been offered a position to teach parachuting in Trenton, Ont., next summer.

A tribute to Royer posted through his Facebook page described him as "an extraordinary human being with the purest of hearts and souls. His smile was infectious and invigorating, and his uplifting personality was always a joy to be around."

Mom says parents should warn their children

This week, Lonsberry said the North Saskatchewan Regiment Army Cadet Corps was flying its flag at half-mast.

The Holy Cross High School he attended has also offered messages of support to the family, she said.

Lonsberry said she is speaking out because she wants other parents to know what she thought was a harmless game could be lethal.

"I just want to make sure people know that it's a possibility and to warn your children," she said.

"And it doesn't matter how good of a swimmer or how athletic you are or your age or whatever, it can happen in a kiddie pool."

Police say death non-suspicious

Lonsberry said authorities had obtained video of the incident from the hotel. Police confirmed Royer's death had been deemed non-suspicious.

CBC News was unable to reach a media spokesperson for the Saskatoon Police Tuesday night.

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