Vancouver: A man who drowned in a popular Pitt Meadows swimming spot on Aug 4 has been identified as a 44-year-old father from Port Coquitlam, CTV reported. The BC Coroners Service said Jagit Khangura was swimming with family in the Alouette River when he started struggling in the water.
Khangura disappeared from sight, and it took hours for searchers to finally locate his body.
Witness Gina Salar-Arefi was at the river with her son during the tragedy, and told CTV News she felt helpless to do anything.
“To know that somebody was likely losing their life in front of his own family,” Salar-Arefi said, crying. “I just can’t imagine what they’re going through.”
Firefighters, RCMP and search and rescue all responded following frantic 911 calls. A Coast Guard dive team eventually located Khangura’s body on the river bottom.
The incident shocked some who frequent the Alouette River, which is known as a relatively risk-free place to cool off. The water is shallow and the founder of a nearby paddling club said the river doesn’t have a strong current.
The BC Coroners Service is continuing to investigate along with the RCMP, and will look at whether drugs, alcohol or a medical condition played a role in the drowning.
Swimmers are warned that accidental drowning deaths spike in the summer. There were three drowning deaths in B.C. over the long weekend alone, according to the Coroners Service.