Toronto

Adam Brunt, firefighting student, dies during training in Hanover

Police and the Ministry of Labour are investigating after a man became trapped during a training exercise for ice and water rescue certification in Hanover, Ont., and later died on Sunday.

Brunt got caught in current of Saugeen River and spent 15 minutes submerged

An aspiring firefighter died during a training exercise today. 2:08

Police and the Ministry of Labour are investigating after a man became trapped during a training exercise for ice and water rescue certification in Hanover, Ont., and later died on Sunday.

Adam Brunt, 30, was enrolled in the firefighter program at Durham College and police say he was attending the extra-curricular course to get additional credit outside of the college.

Brunt was one of 12 students who entered the Saugeen River to simulate a scenario of moving through fast-flowing water in a rescue situation. The students were wearing specialized safety gear but were not harnessed to one another.

According to Inspector Chris Knoll of Hanover police, Brunt was forced under the water by the strong current and became trapped beneath a “dam of ice” that formed in the channel.

The other students and the course instructor did not realize he was missing until after the exercise had ended, Knoll said.

Police searched for Brunt for 15 minutes before he was brought to the surface. He was rushed to hospital, where doctors attempted to resuscitate him for three hours before he was declared dead.

"We never in a million years expected this to happen. We are in shock," wrote Brunt's girlfriend Jenna McNamee in a series of tweets posted shortly after midnight. 

"And the love of my life is gone."

The exercise was being conducted by a private firm from Newmarket. Knoll said the instructor present was the owner of the company, but that police are not releasing the name of the company or owner at the present time.

In a statement released Monday, Durham College wrote Brunt was indeed a pre-service firefighting student.

"Most students in this program choose to supplement their class instruction with practical experience, acquired from external trainers," the statement read. 

"We are deeply saddened by this incident and will support our students, staff and faculty through this upsetting time."

The statement reiterated that the Newmarket firm has no affiliation with the college. 

The Coroner’s Office is involved in the investigation and a post mortem is scheduled to be done today in London.

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