Dead and missing kayakers found in Caledon identified as University of Guelph students

The University of Guelph says a female kayaker found dead along Credit river and her fellow male paddler were third and fourth-year students Kaya Firth and Zach Sutherland.

Police search spot where woman's body recovered yesterday; man remains missing

Kaya Firth, who died in the incident, was a third-year English student at the University of Guelph. Her fellow paddler and boyfriend Zach Sutherland, who has been missing since the accident, is a fourth-year commerce major. (Facebook)

Two kayakers involved in a fatal accident in Caledon Sunday have been identified as Kaya Firth and Zach Sutherland, according to a release from the University of Guelph.

Firth, who died in the incident, was a third-year English student and her fellow paddler and boyfriend Sutherland, is a fourth-year commerce major. Police continue to look for Sutherland, who has been missing since the accident. The search will resume tomorrow, but it's not yet clear where.

"We are deeply saddened by this news," said university president Franco Vaccarino. "Our hearts and thoughts go out to the friends and families of these two vibrant young people."

The university says counselling services are available to assist students and employees.

On Monday, a sombre group of about 20 friends and family members gathered near a spot on the Credit River where the couple, who were in their 20s, are believed to have run into trouble Sunday despite being experienced paddlers. 

Firth's body was pulled from the waterway in Caledon (about 60 kilometres northwest of Toronto) on Sunday. 

Police and emergency crews responded to a call at about 2:50 p.m. ET Sunday after two empty kayaks were spotted stuck in the ice in the middle of the river near Winston Churchill Boulevard and King Street. 

OPP divers search a section of the Credit River on Monday morning near the spot where two kayakers in their 20s got into trouble on Sunday. The body of one of the kayakers, Kaya Firth, was recovered Sunday. Police are still searching for the man she was paddling with. (Grant Linton/CBC)

Emergency crews searched the area overnight Sunday and by Monday, OPP divers were searching the water and chipping at ice around a particular spot on the river near The Forge Park, located at 215 King St. 

Some members of the group of friends and family told CBC News the kayakers canoed and paddled together on the river frequently.

Local residents told CBC News the water is about two and a half metres (eight feet) deep in the spot where the kayaks were found.

One of two identical kayaks found in the Credit River. The body of Kaya Firth, a woman in her 20s, was found Sunday. (Grant Linton/CBC)


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