University student dead, boyfriend missing after kayaking incident

A female university student is dead and her boyfriend is missing after a kayaking incident in a river west of Toronto.

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The University of Guelph said in a statement Monday that Kaya Firth, a third-year English student, died on Sunday in what it called a “kayaking accident in Caledon.”

The university said Firth’s boyfriend, commerce student Zach Sutherland, is still missing.

“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.”

Ontario Provincial Police were called Sunday after two empty kayaks were seen lodged in ice in the Credit River near Terra Cotta, about 65 kilometres northwest of Toronto, in the Town of Caledon.

Officers searched the area, and found a woman's lifeless body.

OPP Sgt. Arron Arnett said he would not speculate on what had happened to the couple, because they had no witnesses.

OPP called in a K-9 team, patrol officers and OPP Aviation Services to aid in the search for the man, but the search was called off on Sunday night when it became too dark to continue.

Dive crews returned to the river on Monday morning to look for signs of the missing man.

From the air, police officers could be seen breaking pieces from the sheet of ice in the middle of the river, where the kayaks were lodged. The kayaks remained on the ice several metres away on Monday afternoon.

Police are using a small camera to look underneath the ice for signs of the man.

With a report from CTV Toronto's John Musselman


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