Skip to content

Student dies after going into medical distress while swimming in Nanaimo’s Westwood Lake

Resuscitation initially successful but victim died later in hospital

A VIU student died after going into medical distress while swimming at Westwood Lake.

Reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said a young adult male was swimming with friends at the lake and was making his way back to a swim dock when he went into medical distress for unknown reasons at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7.

“There were several people on scene who started CPR, which was commenced for an extended period of time,” O’Brien said.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue, B.C. Ambulance Service and RCMP responded to the incident. Resuscitation attempts were initially successful and the patient was transported to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, but the victim died at approximately 5 a.m. on Thursday, June 8.

Police have not released other details about the victim’s identity and O’Brien said the incident is now in the hands of the B.C. Coroners Service.

In a statement released Thursday, Deborah Saucier, Vancouver Island University president and vice-chancellor, confirmed it was one of the institution’s students who died.

“On behalf of the university, I want to offer my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the student’s family, loved ones, their friends here at Vancouver Island University and abroad, and to everyone that knew and loved them,” Saucier said in the release. “Our community shares your grief, and you are in our thoughts. As a parent and university president, I am heart-broken for your loss.”

The statement went on to say VIU will not be providing information about the victim’s identity or details about the cause of death out of respect for the student’s privacy. The university is providing support and assistance for the student’s friends.

The victim’s family overseas has been informed.

Saucier encouraged VIU students and employees to check in on one another and access counselling supports on campus. Online counselling supports have also been made available.

“I ask everyone in our VIU community and in Nanaimo to fill our hearts with compassion for the student’s family and friends and keep them close in your thoughts at this terrible time,” Saucier said.

READ MORE: Nanaimo first responders deploy boat at Westwood Lake to assist injured woman

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
Read more

Pop-up banner image