Calgary couple drowns in Mexico

Two Calgarians have drowned off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula while on vacation.

Pair went swimming at night off Yucatan Peninsula, friends say

Friends of Calgary's James Reimer and Jan Drake say they drowned while swimming in high winds and heavy waves in Mexico. (Submitted by Evelyn Todd)

Foreign Affairs officials are investigating reports that two Calgarians drowned while vacationing off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Friends of the victims have identified the couple as James Reimer, 72, and Jan Drake, 57, both of Calgary.

They said the couple went swimming off the north shore of the Yucatan Saturday night, amid high winds and heavy waves. They were last seen together at a social gathering around 8 p.m. earlier that night.

Mexican police at the scene of the drowning. (Progreso Hoy)

Mexican police awakened the couple's friends shortly after midnight on Sunday to inform them that two bodies had washed ashore. One of the friends was asked to help identify the bodies.

Calgary police say they were alerted to the incident when they were asked to notify the couple's family Monday morning. The call to police came from another couple who said they had been vacationing with the victims. 

Duty Insp. Paul Stacy said the other couple in Mexico reported their friends had disappeared.

"We got the call saying that there was a couple missing, presumed drowned, and there was a possibility there was a next of kin living here in Calgary," he said. "The plea was to see if we could locate any next of kin here in town. To my knowledge, at this stage, I don't have any knowledge to indicate we found any next of kin."

Swimming at night

The incident occurred in the port city of Progreso, on the Yucatan Peninsula. 

An official with the Secretariat of Public Ministry told CBC News the couple had gone into the ocean in the night and their bodies were found on the beach. The Canadian Consulate in Cancun was then alerted after Canadian documents were found on the male victim's body.

Reimer and Drake lived as a common-law couple for the past decade, friends said, adding this was their third winter spent on holiday at the popular Mexican resort. 

The person renting a house to the couple in Progreso said the pair intended to rent the home for 5½ months. They had already been there about a month.

There was no suggestion of foul play, and locals in Progreso say the community is safe. The couple's friends have said they believe the deaths were accidental.

Foreign Affairs said consular officials in Ottawa and the Canadian Consulate in Cancun, Mexico, are working with local authorities to investigate.