Body of second teen who fell through ice on Rideau River has been recovered

Two teenagers have died after four teens fell through ice on the Rideau River Wednesday night.

Ottawa Police Service (OPS) said emergency crews responded to reports of four teenagers who fell through the ice near Nicolls Island Road, an area of the Rideau River near Barrhaven and Manotick, at around 9:45 p.m.

OPS said two of them, 15 and 17, were immediately rescued from the water and taken to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario by paramedics to be treated for mild hypothermia.

The OPS Marine Unit and Ottawa Fire later recovered the deceased body of one of the remaining teens.

According to a GoFundMe page, one of the victims was identified as 17-year-old Ahmed Haitham.

“Our family friend, Ahmed Haitham, was a teenager who was graduating in February 2024, had aspirations to become a police man and was even being recruited,” wrote the organizer of the campaign.

According to the GoFundMe, Haitham went to the river to skate with his friends and fell in when the ice broke only a few steps on.

“Ahmed and his friends fought for their lives wearing heavy winter pants and jackets, with heavy skates trying to swim in pitch black darkness,” wrote the GoFundMe. “Unfortunately Ahmed and one of his friends didn’t not make it out.”

The OPS Marine, Dive and Trails team continued to search for the second missing teen which included ‘a surface and water search in very difficult conditions’ that continued through the night, according to police.

About 24 hours after the initial call, it was reported around 9:56 p.m. Thursday by OPS that they recovered the body of the second deceased youth.

He was identified as 16 year old Riley Cotter.

The Ontario Provincial Police is warning the public to stay off ice because of the warmer-than-normal temperatures Ottawa has seen through December.

Ottawa police say in a press release, “This incident profoundly impacts us all, and our hearts go out to those who are grieving.”

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